from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To draw or take away; divert: They could detract little from so solid an argument.
  • transitive v. Archaic To speak ill of; belittle.
  • intransitive v. To reduce the value, importance, or quality of something. Often used with from: testimony that only detracts from the strength of the plaintiff's case.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To take away; to withdraw or remove.
  • v. To take credit or reputation from; to defame or decry.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To take away a part or something, especially from one's credit; to lessen reputation; to derogate; to defame; -- often with from.
  • transitive v. To take away; to withdraw.
  • transitive v. To take credit or reputation from; to defame.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To take away; withdraw; abate: now always with a quantitative term as direct object, followed by from: as, the defect detracts little from the intrinsic value.
  • To depreciate the reputation or merit of; disparage; belittle; defame.
  • Synonyms Decry, Depreciate, Detract from, etc. See decry.
  • To take away a part; hence, specifically, to take away reputation or merit: followed by from.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. take away a part from; diminish


Middle English detracten, from Latin dētrahere, dētract-, to remove : dē-, de- + trahere, to pull. Sense 2, from Latin dētractāre, frequentative of dētrahere, to take away.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.