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[proh-trakt, pruh-] /proʊˈtrækt, prə-/
verb (used with object)
to draw out or lengthen, especially in time; extend the duration of; prolong.
Anatomy. to extend or protrude.
(in surveying, mathematics, etc.) to plot and draw (lines) with a scale and a protractor.
Origin of protract
1540-50; < Latin prōtractus (past participle of prōtrahere to draw forth, prolong). See pro-1, tract1
Related forms
protractedly, adverb
protractedness, noun
protractible, adjective
protractive, adjective
overprotract, verb (used with object)
unprotracted, adjective
unprotractive, adjective
1. continue. See lengthen.
1. curtail. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for protracted
  • The protracted heat had the effect of driving away every one nearly from the city yesterday.
  • Be prepared for a protracted process in which communication seems inadequate.
  • protracted conflict, not insurgent victory, is the threat.
  • The withdrawn bid ends a protracted disagreement over price and regulator approval.
  • He also said no country ever benefited from a protracted war.
  • Many protracted and animated discussions were indulged in, and a variety of opinions expressed.
  • Few expect a protracted slowdown in the remaining years of this decade.
  • After a protracted holiday break, it feels good to follow up on what's going on in the field.
  • The current global economic and financial meltdown may yet become something worse: a protracted global depression.
  • Not the slightest shade of uneasiness, at home, on account of her protracted absence.
British Dictionary definitions for protracted


extended or lengthened in time; prolonged: a protracted legal battle
Derived Forms
protractedly, adverb
protractedness, noun


verb (transitive)
to lengthen or extend (a speech, etc); prolong in time
(of a muscle) to draw, thrust, or extend (a part, etc) forwards
to plot or draw using a protractor and scale
Derived Forms
protractive, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin prōtrahere to prolong, from pro-1 + 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
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Word Origin and History for protracted



1530s, a back-formation from protraction and in part from Latin protractus, past participle of protrahere "to draw forth, prolong." Etymologically identical with portray, which was altered in French. Related: Protracted; protracting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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protracted in Medicine

protract pro·tract (prō-trākt', prə-)
v. pro·tract·ed, pro·tract·ing, pro·tracts
To extend or protrude a body part.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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