[trak-shuh n]


Origin of traction

1605–15; < Medieval Latin tractiōn- (stem of tractiō) act of drawing, equivalent to tract(us), past participle of trahere to draw + -iōn- -ion
Related formstrac·tion·al, adjectivenon·trac·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for traction

Contemporary Examples of traction

Historical Examples of traction

  • The next step forward was to substitute for horses a traction engine.

    The Age of Invention

    Holland Thompson

  • Hence three traction ropes are fastened at the top of the machine.

  • Its blocks and traction ropes are arranged as described above.

  • The power of a traction sprayer is developed from the wheels.

    Apple Growing

    M. C. Burritt

  • Its towing power in the water, and that of traction on dry land, is astonishing.

    The Western World

    W.H.G. Kingston

British Dictionary definitions for traction



the act of drawing or pulling, esp by motive power
the state of being drawn or pulled
med the application of a steady pull on a part during healing of a fractured or dislocated bone, using a system of weights and pulleys or splints
the adhesive friction between a wheel and a surface, as between a driving wheel of a motor vehicle and the road
Derived Formstractional, adjectivetractive (ˈtræktɪv), adjective

Word Origin for traction

C17: from Medieval Latin tractiō, from Latin tractus dragged; see tractile
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 traction

early 15c., "a drawing or pulling" (originally the pulling of a dislocated limb to reposition it), from Medieval Latin tractionem (nominative tractio) "a drawing" (mid-13c.), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin trahere "to pull, draw" (see tract (n.1)). Sense of "rolling friction of a vehicle" first appears 1825.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

traction in Medicine




The act of drawing or pulling.
A pulling force.
A sustained pull applied mechanically, especially to the arm, leg, or neck, to correct fractured or dislocated bones, to overcome muscle spasms, or to relieve pressure.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

traction in Science



Static friction, as of a wheel on a track or a tire on a road. See more at friction.
A sustained pulling force applied mechanically to a part of the body by means of a weighted apparatus in order to correct the position of fractured or dislocated bones, especially of the arm, leg, or neck.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.