1. the act of distracting.
  2. the state of being distracted.
  3. mental distress or derangement: That child will drive me to distraction.
  4. that which distracts, divides the attention, or prevents concentration: The distractions of the city interfere with my studies.
  5. that which amuses, entertains, or diverts; amusement; entertainment: Fishing is his major distraction.
  6. division or disorder caused by dissension; tumult.


  1. the act or an instance of distracting or the state of being distracted
  2. something that serves as a diversion or entertainment
  3. an interruption; an obstacle to concentration
  4. mental turmoil or madness

mid-15c., “the drawing away of the mind,” from Latin distractionem (nominative distractio) “a pulling apart, separating,” noun of action from past participle stem of distrahere (see distract). Meaning “mental disturbance” (in driven to distraction, etc.) is c.1600. Meaning “a thing or fact that distracts” is from 1610s.


  1. A condition or state of mind in which the attention is diverted from an original focus or interest.
  2. Separation of bony fragments or joint surfaces of a limb by extension.

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