[ suhb-trakt ]
/ səbˈtrækt /

verb (used with object)

to withdraw or take away, as a part from a whole.
Mathematics. to take (one number or quantity) from another; deduct.

verb (used without object)

to take away something or a part, as from a whole.

Nearby words

  1. subtopia,
  2. subtopic,
  3. subtorrid,
  4. subtotal,
  5. subtotal hysterectomy,
  6. subtraction,
  7. subtractive,
  8. subtractive color,
  9. subtractive process,
  10. subtrahend

Origin of subtract

1530–40; < Latin subtractus (past participle of subtrahere to draw away from underneath), equivalent to sub- sub- + trac- (past participle stem of trahere to draw) + -tus past participle suffix

1, 3. Subtract, deduct express diminution in sum or quantity. To subtract suggests taking a part from a whole or a smaller from a larger: to subtract the tax from one's salary. To deduct is to take away an amount or quantity from an aggregate or total so as to lessen or lower it: to deduct a discount. Subtract is both transitive and intransitive, and has general or figurative uses; deduct is always transitive and usually concrete and practical in application.

Related formssub·tract·er, nounun·sub·tract·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for subtract

British Dictionary definitions for subtract


/ (səbˈtrækt) /


to calculate the difference between (two numbers or quantities) by subtraction
to remove (a part of a thing, quantity, etc) from the whole
Derived Formssubtracter, noun

Word Origin for subtract

C16: from Latin subtractus withdrawn, from subtrahere to draw away from beneath, from sub- + trahere to draw

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 subtract



1540s, from Latin subtractus, past participle of subtrahere (see subtraction). Related: Subtracted; subtracting. Earlier verb form was subtraien (early 15c.).

Here he teches þe Craft how þou schalt know, whan þou hast subtrayd, wheþer þou hast wel ydo or no. ["Craft of Numbering," c.1425]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper