Distracted

Word of the day, 5th March 2015

distracted /dɪˈstraktɪd/ (adjective)

From Latin, dis- “away” + trahere “to draw” = “to draw away”.

So to be “distracted” is to be drawn away from one thing (usually what you should be doing or thinking about) to something else: “unable to concentrate because one is preoccupied by something.

The dictionary says this “something” is “worrying or unpleasant“, but I think we can be easily distracted by all sorts of things.

Quite an appropriate word for today, because I have been very distracted by various things as I have been trying to write this!

A teacher’s comment on a pupil’s report might be “Johnny is easily distracted“.
This means when “Johnny” is supposed to be thinking about the subject he is learning, he might be “daydreaming“, perhaps looking out of the window, etc.

distract /dɪˈstrakt/ (verb)
– prevent (someone) from concentrating on something.
Don’t let me distract you from what you are doing“.
– divert (attention) from something.
It was another attempt to distract attention from the truth“.
– divert one’s attention from something unpleasant by doing something different or more pleasurable.
I tried to distract myself by watching a DVD“.

The only expressions (idioms) I can think of use the noun, distraction /dɪˈstrakʃ(ə)n/ :

drive (someone) to distraction
– to cause (someone) to be unable to think or work: “Please turn that music down, it is driving me to distraction” (i.e. “Please turn that music down, I cannot concentrate“).
– confuse or perplex (someone): “Can’t you see you’re driving her to distraction?
– make (someone) very angry or very bored: “Looking after six children every day is enough to drive you to distraction

bored to distraction
– Find something extremely dull and uninteresting (boring) “That lecturer left me bored to distraction.

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