[ ri-trakt ]
/ rɪˈtrækt /

verb (used with object)

to withdraw (a statement, opinion, etc.) as inaccurate or unjustified, especially formally or explicitly; take back.
to withdraw or revoke (a decree, promise, etc.).

verb (used without object)

to draw or shrink back.
to withdraw a promise, vow, etc.
to make a disavowal of a statement, opinion, etc.; recant.

Nearby words

  1. retort,
  2. retortion,
  3. retouch,
  4. retox,
  5. retrace,
  6. retractable,
  7. retractile,
  8. retraction,
  9. retraction nystagmus,
  10. retractive

Origin of retract

1535–45; < Latin retractāre to reconsider, withdraw, equivalent to re- re- + tractāre to drag, pull, take in hand (frequentative of trahere to pull)

Related formsre·tract·a·ble, re·tract·i·ble, adjectivere·tract·a·bil·i·ty, re·tract·i·bil·i·ty, nounre·trac·ta·tion [ree-trak-tey-shuhn] /ˌri trækˈteɪ ʃən/, nounun·re·tract·a·ble, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for retractable

British Dictionary definitions for retractable


/ (rɪˈtrækt) /


(tr) to draw in (a part or appendage)a snail can retract its horns; to retract the landing gear of an aircraft
to withdraw (a statement, opinion, charge, etc) as invalid or unjustified
to go back on (a promise or agreement)
(intr) to shrink back, as in fear
phonetics to modify the articulation of (a vowel) by bringing the tongue back away from the lips
Derived Formsretractable or retractible, adjectiveretractability or retractibility, nounretractation (ˌriːtrækˈteɪʃən), nounretractive, adjective

Word Origin for retract

C16: from Latin retractāre to withdraw, from tractāre to pull, from 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 retractable
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper