detract

detract, distract
Both words are used transitively (with an object) followed by from; but their meanings are different. Detract, which (more than distract) is also used without an object, means ‘to take away (a part of something), to diminish’:

• If anything even remotely detracts from my life in a rugby sense it gets binned —Irish Examiner, 2003.

Distract

• means ‘to divert the attention of’ with a person, the mind, etc. as the object: This speculation should not distract us from the real issues —Daily Record, 2006.

Detract sometimes encroaches on distract, especially in the expression detract attention from, which was an accepted usage in the early 19c but should now be avoided in favour of distract attention from.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Detract — De*tract , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Detracted}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Detracting}.] [L. detractus, p. p. of detrahere to detract; de + trahere to draw: cf. F. d[ e]tracter. See {Trace}.] 1. To take away; to withdraw. [1913 Webster] Detract much from the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Detract — De*tract , v. i. To take away a part or something, especially from one s credit; to lessen reputation; to derogate; to defame; often with from. [1913 Webster] It has been the fashion to detract both from the moral and literary character of Cicero …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • detract — ► VERB (detract from) ▪ cause (something) to seem less valuable or impressive. DERIVATIVES detraction noun. ORIGIN Latin detrahere draw away …   English terms dictionary

  • detract — I verb abate, belittle, blacken, blame, decrease, decry, defame, denigrate, depreciate, derogate, deteriorate, diminish, discommend, discount, disparage, distract, divert, draw away, lessen, lower, malign, minimize II index bait (harass), blame,… …   Law dictionary

  • detract — early 15c., from M.Fr. détracter, from L. detractus, pp. of detrahere to take down, pull down, disparage (see DETRACTION (Cf. detraction)). Related: Detracted; detracting …   Etymology dictionary

  • detract — belittle, minimize, disparage, derogate, *decry, depreciate Analogous words: asperse, *malign, traduce, defame, vilify, calumniate, slander, libel: reduce, lessen, diminish, *decrease Contrasted words: enhance, heighten, *intensify: magnify,… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • detract — [v] take away a part; lessen backbite*, belittle, blister, cheapen, cut rate, decrease, decry, depreciate, derogate, devaluate, diminish, discount, discredit, disesteem, draw away, knock*, laugh at, lower, minimize, misprize, reduce, subtract… …   New thesaurus

  • detract — [dē trakt′, ditrakt′] vt. [ME detracten < L detractare, to decline, depreciate < detractus, pp. of detrahere, to draw away < de , from + trahere, to DRAW] 1. to take or draw away 2. Now Rare to belittle; disparage vi. to take something… …   English World dictionary

  • detract — v. (d; intr., tr.) to detract from (the scandal will not detract from his fame) * * * [dɪ trækt] (d; intr., tr.) to detract from (the scandal will not detract from his fame) …   Combinatory dictionary

  • detract — de|tract [dıˈtrækt] v detract from [detract from sth] phr v [Date: 1400 1500; : Latin; Origin: detractus, past participle of detrahere to take away ] to make something seem less good ▪ One mistake is not going to detract from your achievement …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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