a powerful motor-driven vehicle with large, heavy treads, used for pulling farm machinery, other vehicles, etc.
Also called truck tractor. a short truck with a driver's cab but no body, designed for hauling a trailer or semitrailer.
something used for drawing or pulling.
  1. a propeller mounted at the front of an airplane, thus exerting a pull.
  2. Also called tractor airplane with a propeller so mounted.

Origin of tractor

1855–60; < Latin trac-, variant stem of trahere to draw, pull + -tor -tor Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for tractor

canker, butterfly, moth, tractor, larva

Examples from the Web for tractor

Contemporary Examples of tractor

Historical Examples of tractor

  • The tractor beam that would take hold of them had never been designed.

    The Vortex Blaster

    Edward Elmer Smith

  • The "tractor" hauls the log direct to the railway if the distance is not too great.

    Handwork in Wood

    William Noyes

  • And you might have someone send out a mechanic with parts to fix my tractor.

    All Day September

    Roger Kuykendall

  • He turned back to his tractor, moving as slowly as he felt safe in doing.

    All Day September

    Roger Kuykendall

  • Barney climbed into the pickup and drove it around to the tractor shed.

British Dictionary definitions for tractor



a motor vehicle used to pull heavy loads, esp farm machinery such as a plough or harvester. It usually has two large rear wheels with deeply treaded tyres
a short motor vehicle with a powerful engine and a driver's cab, used to pull a trailer, as in an articulated lorry
an aircraft with its propeller or propellers mounted in front of the engine

Word Origin for tractor

C18: from Late Latin: one who pulls, 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 tractor

1856, "something that pulls," earlier used of a quack device consisting of two metal rods which were supposed to relieve rheumatism (1798, in full Perkins's metallic tractor), from Medieval Latin tractor, from stem of Latin trahere "to pull, draw" (see tract (n.1)).

Sense of "an engine or vehicle for pulling wagons or plows" is recorded by 1896, from earlier traction engine (1859). The meaning "powerful truck for pulling a freight trailer" is first found 1926; tractor-trailer is attested from 1949.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper