• synonyms


[proh-trakt, pruh-]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to draw out or lengthen, especially in time; extend the duration of; prolong.
  2. Anatomy. to extend or protrude.
  3. (in surveying, mathematics, etc.) to plot and draw (lines) with a scale and a protractor.
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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 formspro·tract·ed·ly, adverbpro·tract·ed·ness, nounpro·tract·i·ble, adjectivepro·trac·tive, adjectiveo·ver·pro·tract, verb (used with object)un·pro·tract·ed, adjectiveun·pro·trac·tive, adjective

Synonyms for protract

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Antonyms for protract

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for protract

prolong, defer, draw, stretch, lengthen, procrastinate, delay, continue, pad, elongate, postpone, stall, cool, prolongate

Examples from the Web for protract

Historical Examples of protract

  • The heroism of the Spaniards might protract, but could not avert their fall.

    Gomez Arias

    Joaqun Telesforo de Trueba y Coso

  • Their mission is not rescue, it is only to prolong a struggle, to protract a fate.'

    Gerald Fitzgerald

    Charles James Lever

  • To draw forward; to extend or prolong; as, “England desired not to protract the war.”


    Elmer W. Cavins

  • These are the arts which protract the existence of government.

  • It is almost better to decide wrong than to protract the contest.

    As I Remember

    Marian Gouverneur

British Dictionary definitions for protract


verb (tr)
  1. to lengthen or extend (a speech, etc); prolong in time
  2. (of a muscle) to draw, thrust, or extend (a part, etc) forwards
  3. to plot or draw using a protractor and scale
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Derived Formsprotractive, adjective

Word Origin for protract

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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

protract in Medicine


  1. To extend or protrude a body part.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.