Definition of retract in English:

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retract

Pronunciation: /rəˈtrakt/

verb

1Draw or be drawn back or back in: [with object]: she retracted her hand as if she’d been burned [no object]: the tentacle retracted quickly
More example sentences
  • She groaned distastefully, retracting her hand back and using it to pull herself into a sitting position.
  • Return to the uptight position, then squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the handles into your abdomen while retracting your shoulders and keeping your arms close to your body.
  • Penderan grins quietly to himself, Riley glances up momentarily, but retracts her attention as soon as he feels it upon him - if even only softly.
Synonyms
pull in, draw in, pull back
1.1 [with object] Withdraw (a statement or accusation) as untrue or unjustified: he retracted his allegations
More example sentences
  • They then retracted their statement and said that some of the injuries were old.
  • By retracting his confession he lost the opportunity of being considered for parole.
  • He said: "I do not retract what I have put in writing."
Synonyms
take back, withdraw, recant, disavow, disclaim, repudiate, renounce, reverse, revoke, rescind, go back on, backtrack on, unsay
formal abjure
1.2 [with object] Withdraw or go back on (an undertaking or promise): the parish council was forced to retract a previous resolution
More example sentences
  • The seller, John Leitch, did send in a link to the auction page earlier this morning showing £110,000 had been bid and the reserve met - but this bid was later retracted.
  • Your Honours, I made some concessions either explicit or implicit on the last occasion which I wish to retract.
  • Several weeks later, Pioneer retracted its decision, allegedly due to concern about unfavorable publicity and pressure from its labor union.

Derivatives

retractive

Pronunciation: /-tiv/
adjective
Example sentences
  • It would require a sudden transformation of forelimbs from a retractive, terrestrial, weight-bearing stroke to a depressive, protractive, aerial, thrust-generating stroke.
  • Elastic fibers and alveolar myofibroblasts localize to ends and bends where retractive forces develop during inspiration, but not at junctions, which are reinforced with collagen fibers.
  • Propulsive and retractive forces are each capable of damaging the nerves, but significant damage is most likely to occur when these forces are combined.

Origin

Late Middle English: from Latin retract- 'drawn back', from the verb retrahere (from re- 'back' + trahere 'drag'); the senses 'withdraw (a statement)' and 'go back on' via Old French from retractare 'reconsider' (based on trahere 'drag').

More
  • abstract from Middle English:

    The Latin source of abstract, meant literally ‘drawn away’ and is from abstrahere, from the elements ab- ‘from’ and trahere ‘draw off’. The use in art dates from the mid 19th century. Trahere is found in many English words including: attract (Late Middle English) with ad ‘to’; portrait (mid 16th century), something drawn; protract (mid 16th century) with pro ‘out’; retract (Late Middle English) and retreat (Late Middle English) both drawing back; and words listed at train.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: re·tract

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