verb (used with object), ex·tri·cat·ed, ex·tri·cat·ing.

to free or release from entanglement; disengage: to extricate someone from a dangerous situation.
to liberate (gas) from combination, as in a chemical process.

Origin of extricate

1605–15; < Latin extricātus (past participle of extricāre), equivalent to ex- ex-1 + tric(ae) perplexities + -ātus -ate1
Related formsex·tri·ca·tion, nounnon·ex·tri·ca·tion, nounun·ex·tri·cat·ed, adjective

Synonyms for extricate

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for extricate

Contemporary Examples of extricate

  • To extricate himself, he surrendered to the government the management of, and revenues from, most of his property.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Britain's Welfare Queen

    Tom Sykes

    February 18, 2014

  • This week, Merkel ominously said she expects it will take Europe another decade to extricate itself from the crisis.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Is Europe's Troubled Marriage Doomed?

    Stefan Theil

    November 6, 2011

  • George W. Bush set the trap just over nine years ago, and the Democrats are still trying to extricate themselves.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The GOP's Fiscal Time Bomb

    Howard Kurtz

    December 2, 2010

  • A bit more urgent is how to extricate ourselves from this stinker of a GECSTGD.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Sarah Palin, the Sequel

    Christopher Buckley

    November 10, 2008

Historical Examples of extricate

  • Money was needful to extricate him from this drudgery and let him follow up his aspirations.

  • But Shakib is in such a business tangle that he could not extricate himself in a day.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • Before the animal could extricate itself Mary-'Gusta had seized it in her arms.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • He could extricate himself by criminating his dead father, but that he should never do.

  • Still, he conceived that he had gone too far to extricate himself.

    St. Martin's Summer

    Rafael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for extricate


verb (tr)

to remove or free from complication, hindrance, or difficulty; disentangle
Derived Formsextricable, adjectiveextrication, noun

Word Origin for extricate

C17: from Latin extrīcāre to disentangle, from ex- 1 + trīcae trifles, vexations


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 extricate

1610s, from Latin extricatus, past participle of extricare "disentangle," perhaps from ex- "out of" + tricae (plural) "perplexities, hindrances," of unknown origin. Related: Extricated; extricating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper