- To retract is to withdraw something you said or did.
- When you made a statement and then realized you spoke in error and take back what you said, this is an example of a situation where you retract your statement.
- When you pull your hand back because it touches a hot flame, this is an example of a situation where you retract your hand.
- to draw back or in: to retract claws
- to withdraw or disavow (a statement, promise, offer, charge, etc.); recant
Origin: Middle English retracten: inch(es) retractsense from Classical Latin retractus, past participle of retrahere, to draw back from re-, back plush trahere, to draw; inch(es) retractsense from Middle French retracter from Classical Latin retractare, to draw back, withdraw from re-, back plush tractare, to pull, draw, frequentative of trahere
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
verb re·tract·ed, re·tract·ing, re·tracts verb, transitive
- To take back; disavow: refused to retract the statement.
- To draw back or in: a plane retracting its landing gear. See Synonyms at recede1.
- Linguistics a. To utter (a sound) with the tongue drawn back.b. To draw back (the tongue).
- To take something back or disavow it.
- To draw back.
Origin: Latin retractāre, to revoke, frequentative of retrahere, to draw back : re-, re- + trahere, to draw. V., tr., senses 2 and 3, and v., intr., sense 2, Middle English retracten, from Old French retracter, from Latin retractus, past participle of retrahere.
- re·tractˌa·bilˈi·ty, re·tractˌi·bilˈi·ty noun
- re·tractˈa·ble, re·tractˈi·ble adjective
- reˌtrac·taˈtion noun