verb (used with object)
- to draw away or divert, as the mind or attention: The music distracted him from his work.
- to disturb or trouble greatly in mind; beset: Grief distracted him.
- to provide a pleasant diversion for; amuse; entertain: I’m bored with bridge, but golf still distracts me.
- to separate or divide by dissension or strife.
- Obsolete. distracted.
- (often passive) to draw the attention of (a person) away from something
- to divide or confuse the attention of (a person)
- to amuse or entertain
- to trouble greatly
- to make mad
mid-14c., “to draw asunder or apart, to turn aside” (literal and figurative), from Latin distractus, past participle of distrahere “draw in different directions,” from dis- “away” (see dis-) + trahere “to draw” (see tract (n.1)).
Sense of “to throw into a state of mind in which one knows not how to act” is from 1580s. Related: Distracted; distracting; distractedly; distractedness.