Definition of subtract in English:

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Pronunciation: /səbˈtrakt/


[with object]
1Take away (a number or amount) from another to calculate the difference: subtract 43 from 60
More example sentences
  • Dollar amounts were calculated by subtracting the rework cost from the Navy stock number ‘ready-for-issue’ value.
  • So to get the correct figure, we have to subtract the number of days when it was both.
  • Not only does the game add and subtract a number of different fields to generate a final total for a race, you can easily spend half a minute or more just watching the game tally up the number of mistakes you made.
take away/off, deduct, debit, dock
informal knock off, minus
1.1Take away (something) from something else so as to decrease the size, number, or amount: programs were added and subtracted as called for
More example sentences
  • The years are beginning to follow into a pattern, wavering as we continue to add and subtract elements of our business and our lives, but growing more distinct all the time.
  • These scenarios can be tailored to increase or decrease the level of difficulty by adding or subtracting additional targets and changing conditions.
  • With improv, you're adding and subtracting things as you go, more haphazard, exciting.



Example sentences
  • A machine with storage, with this automatic-telephone-exchange arrangement and with the necessary adders, subtractors and so on, is, in a sense, already a universal machine.
  • The apparatus includes an adaptive filter including an ingress synthesizer for recreating the undesired ingress signal and an ingress subtractor for subtracting the recreated ingress signal from the input signal.
  • The output of the microphone is combined in a subtractor with the acoustic echo replica, producing the residual echo.


Pronunciation: /səbˈtraktiv/
Example sentences
  • The paintings began to take on more of the qualities of sculptures, featuring ‘the removal and chipping away or carving out of surfaces,’ remnants of subtractive gestures and large tracts of unfinished canvas.
  • His subtractive procedure is the ruthless evacuation of everything taken-for-granted as a prelude to the construction of a new Good.
  • Most of their work is subtractive: products we don't need, resources we shouldn't have wasted.


Mid 16th century: from Latin subtract- 'drawn away', from sub- 'from below' + trahere 'to draw'.

Words that rhyme with subtract

abreact, abstract, act, attract, bract, compact, contract, counteract, diffract, enact, exact, extract, fact, humpbacked, impact, interact, matter-of-fact, pact, protract, redact, refract, retroact, subcontract, tact, tract, transact, unbacked, underact, untracked

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sub·tract

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