[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.

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

Examples from the Web for protracted

Contemporary Examples of protracted

Historical Examples of protracted

British Dictionary definitions for protracted


  1. extended or lengthened in time; prolongeda protracted legal battle
Derived Formsprotractedly, adverbprotractedness, noun


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
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 protracted



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

protracted in Medicine


  1. 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.