October 11, 2011
- attract (verb)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : to pull to or toward oneself or itself2 : to draw by appealing to interest or feeling
- How do you use it?
- "They shuffled and scratched, and Jamie even emitted two very false sneezes to attract my attention." (E. L. Konigsburg, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler)
- Are you a word wiz?
"Attract" comes from Latin word "attrahere," which itself comes from the prefix "ad-" meaning "to" or "toward," and "trahere," meaning "to pull, draw." Which of the following words do you think also has "trahere" in its lineage?"Trace" (one meaning of which is "to make a sketch, rough draft, or outline of") is the only word we've listed that traces back to "trahere," but the root has played a part in the histories of quite a few other words too, some of which you probably use almost every day. "Subtract"—as in "subtract three from nine and you get six"—is one. So is "distract," as in "students who are distracted by their cell phones." Another "trahere" word is "treat," as in "Grandma treated us to ice cream."