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[proh-trakt, pruh-] /proʊˈtrækt, prə-/
verb (used with object)
to draw out or lengthen, especially in time; extend the duration of; prolong.
Anatomy. to extend or protrude.
(in surveying, mathematics, etc.) to plot and draw (lines) with a scale and a protractor.
Origin of protract
First recorded in 1540-50, protract is from the Latin word prōtractus (past participle of prōtrahere to draw forth, prolong). See pro-1, tract1
Related forms
protractedly, adverb
protractedness, noun
protractible, adjective
protractive, adjective
overprotract, verb (used with object)
unprotracted, adjective
unprotractive, adjective
1. continue. See lengthen.
1. curtail. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for protract
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for protract


verb (transitive)
to lengthen or extend (a speech, etc); prolong in time
(of a muscle) to draw, thrust, or extend (a part, etc) forwards
to plot or draw using a protractor and scale
Derived Forms
protractive, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin prōtrahere to prolong, from pro-1 + trahere to drag
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for protract

1530s, a back-formation from protraction and in part from Latin protractus, past participle of protrahere "to draw forth, prolong." Etymologically identical with portray, which was altered in French. Related: Protracted; protracting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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protract in Medicine

protract pro·tract (prō-trākt', prə-)
v. pro·tract·ed, pro·tract·ing, pro·tracts
To extend or protrude a body part.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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