[verb ik-strakt or especially for 5, ek-strakt; noun ek-strakt]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to get, pull, or draw out, usually with special effort, skill, or force: to extract a tooth.
  2. to deduce (a doctrine, principle, interpretation, etc.): He extracted a completely personal meaning from what was said.
  3. to derive or obtain (pleasure, comfort, etc.) from a particular source: He extracted satisfaction from the success of his sons.
  4. to take or copy out (matter), as from a book.
  5. to make excerpts from (a book, pamphlet, etc.).
  6. to extort (information, money, etc.): to extract a secret from someone.
  7. to separate or obtain (a juice, ingredient, etc.) from a mixture by pressure, distillation, treatment with solvents, or the like.
  8. Mathematics.
    1. to determine (the root of a quantity that has a single root).
    2. to determine (a root of a quantity that has multiple roots).
  1. something extracted.
  2. a passage taken from a book, article, etc.; excerpt; quotation.
  3. a solution or preparation containing the active principles of a drug, plant juice, or the like; concentrated solution: vanilla extract.
  4. a solid, viscid, or liquid substance extracted from a plant, drug, or the like, containing its essence in concentrated form: beef extract.

Origin of extract

1375–1425; late Middle English < Latin extractus (past participle of extrahere). See ex-1, tract1
Related formsex·tract·a·ble, ex·tract·i·ble, adjectiveex·tract·a·bil·i·ty, ex·tract·i·bil·i·ty, nounnon·ex·tract·a·ble, adjectivenon·ex·tract·ed, adjectivenon·ex·tract·i·ble, adjectiveo·ver·ex·tract, verb (used with object)pre·ex·tract, verb (used with object)un·ex·tract·a·ble, adjectiveun·ex·tract·ed, adjective

Synonyms for extract

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1. pry out. 6. evoke, educe, draw out, elicit. Extract, exact, extort, wrest imply using force to remove something. To extract is to draw forth something as by pulling, importuning, or the like: to extract a confession by torture. To exact is to impose a penalty, or to obtain by force or authority, something to which one lays claim: to exact payment. To extort is to wring something by intimidation or threats from an unwilling person: to extort money by threats of blackmail. To wrest is to take by force or violence in spite of active resistance: The courageous minority wrested power from their oppressors. 7. withdraw, distill. 10. citation, selection. 11. decoction, distillation.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for extract


verb (ɪkˈstrækt) (tr)
  1. to withdraw, pull out, or uproot by force
  2. to remove or separate
  3. to derive (pleasure, information, etc) from some source or situation
  4. to deduce or develop (a doctrine, policy, etc)
  5. informal to extort (money, etc)
  6. to obtain (a substance) from a mixture or material by a chemical or physical process, such as digestion, distillation, the action of a solvent, or mechanical separation
  7. to cut out or copy out (an article, passage, quotation, etc) from a publication
  8. to determine the value of (the root of a number)
noun (ˈɛkstrækt)
  1. something extracted, such as a part or passage from a book, speech, etc
  2. a preparation containing the active principle or concentrated essence of a materialbeef extract; yeast extract
  3. pharmacol a solution of plant or animal tissue containing the active principle
Derived Formsextractable, adjectiveextractability, noun

Word Origin for extract

C15: from Latin extractus drawn forth, from extrahere, from trahere to drag


Extract is sometimes wrongly used where extricate would be better: he will find it difficult extricating (not extracting) himself from this situation
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

Word Origin and History for extract

late 15c., from Latin extractus, past participle of extrahere "draw out," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + trahere "to draw" (see tract (n.1)). Related: Extracted; extracting.


mid-15c., from Late Latin extractum, noun use of neuter past participle of extrahere "to draw out" (see extract (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

extract in Medicine


  1. To draw or pull out, using force or effort.
  2. To obtain from a substance by chemical or mechanical action, as by pressure, distillation, or evaporation.
  3. To remove for separate consideration or publication; excerpt.
  4. To determine or calculate the root of a number.
  1. A concentrated preparation of a drug obtained by removing the active constituents of the drug with suitable solvents, evaporating all or nearly all of the solvent, and adjusting the residual mass or powder to the prescribed standard.
  2. A preparation of the essential constituents of a food or a flavoring; a concentrate.
Related formsex•tracta•ble null adj.ex•tractor n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.