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- 1817: Frances Brooke, Manners: A Novel Part III
- But to return to our friend Desmond:—he was too well bred to have asked such an unfair question, had he not been completely distrait. When the mind is absent without leave, the deputy it leaves behind to secure its unmolested retreat most resembles that apish faculty, memory, and mechanically imitates the manners, and repeats the phrases of others. (Published anonymously, though some citations refer to her pseudonym Madame Panache. Note: Frances Brooke is a different person)
- 1908: Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge (Norton 2005, page 1238)
- I noticed that after my host had read it he seemed even more distrait and strange than before.
- 1919, Ronald Firbank, Valmouth, Duckworth, hardback edition, page 50
- Seated upon the fallen hornbeam, Mrs Thoroughfare was regarding distraitly the sky.
- 1996: John Le Carré, The Tailor of Panama (Knopf 1996, hardback edition, page 221) "Forgive me for being a fraction distrait today. We're trying to prevent another war."