[with-draw-uh l, -drawl, with-]
See more synonyms for withdrawal on Thesaurus.com
  1. Also with·draw·ment. the act or condition of withdrawing.
  2. Pharmacology. the act or process of ceasing to use an addictive drug.
  3. coitus interruptus.

Origin of withdrawal

First recorded in 1740–50; withdraw + -al2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for withdrawal

Contemporary Examples of withdrawal

Historical Examples of withdrawal

British Dictionary definitions for withdrawal


  1. an act or process of withdrawing; retreat, removal, or detachment
  2. the period a drug addict goes through following abrupt termination in the use of narcotics, usually characterized by physical and mental symptoms (withdrawal symptoms)
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 withdrawal

1820s, "act of taking back," also "retraction of a statement," from withdraw + -al (2). Earlier words in the same sense were withdrawment (1640s); withdraught (mid-14c.). Meaning "removal of money from a bank, etc." is from 1861; psychological sense is from 1916; meaning "physical reaction to the cessation of an addictive substance" is from 1929 (with an isolated use from 1897; withdrawal symptoms is from 1924). As a synonym for coitus interruptus from 1889.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

withdrawal in Medicine


[wĭð-drôəl, wĭth-]
  1. Detachment, as from social or emotional involvement.
  2. Discontinuation of the use of an addictive substance.
  3. The physiological and mental readjustment that accompanies such discontinuation.
  4. A pattern of behavior, observed in schizophrenia and depression, that is characterized by a pathological retreat from interpersonal contact and social involvement and that leads to self-preoccupation.
  5. Coitus interruptus.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

withdrawal in Science


[wĭð-drôəl, wĭth-]
  1. Discontinuation of the use of an addictive substance. The symptoms of withdrawal include headache, diarrhea, and tremors and can range from mild to life threatening, depending on the extent of the body's reliance on the addictive substance.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.