"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[ri-trakt] /rɪˈtrækt/
verb (used with object)
to draw back or in:
to retract fangs.
verb (used without object)
to draw back within itself or oneself, fold up, or the like, or to be capable of doing this:
The blade retracts.
Origin of retract1
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English retracten < Latin retractus, past participle of retrahere to draw back, equivalent to re- re- + tractus (see tract1)


[ri-trakt] /rɪˈtrækt/
verb (used with object)
to withdraw (a statement, opinion, etc.) as inaccurate or unjustified, especially formally or explicitly; take back.
to withdraw or revoke (a decree, promise, etc.).
verb (used without object)
to draw or shrink back.
to withdraw a promise, vow, etc.
to make a disavowal of a statement, opinion, etc.; recant.
1535-45; < Latin retractāre to reconsider, withdraw, equivalent to re- re- + tractāre to drag, pull, take in hand (frequentative of trahere to pull)
Related forms
retractable, retractible, adjective
retractability, retractibility, noun
[ree-trak-tey-shuh n] /ˌri trækˈteɪ ʃən/ (Show IPA),
unretractable, adjective
1, 2. deny, renounce, recant, abrogate, nullify, annul. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for retract
  • But once the air bubbles retract and all you see around you is life.
  • The government was quick to retract its offer when red-shirt leaders amended their demands.
  • Within a few hours he was forced to retract this grievous breach of party orthodoxy.
  • The authors have therefore agreed to retract their paper.
  • When people are happy, their eyelids tend to retract, making the eyes appear larger.
  • Also it is a well known fact that once a theorem is deduced, there is no way for the theory to retract it.
  • It is a well know basic of logic that there is no way to retract what has been proved in logical theory.
  • Along with other expenses, editorial budgets must retract until they are rational or the publication will be shuttered.
  • Lie that have forced newspapers to retract their false accusations.
  • Something which makes my sheath retract and my talons ooze.
British Dictionary definitions for retract


(transitive) to draw in (a part or appendage): a snail can retract its horns, to retract the landing gear of an aircraft
to withdraw (a statement, opinion, charge, etc) as invalid or unjustified
to go back on (a promise or agreement)
(intransitive) to shrink back, as in fear
(phonetics) to modify the articulation of (a vowel) by bringing the tongue back away from the lips
Derived Forms
retractable, retractible, adjective
retractability, retractibility, noun
retractation (ˌriːtrækˈteɪʃən) noun
retractive, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin retractāre to withdraw, from tractāre to pull, 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
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Word Origin and History for retract

early 15c., "to draw (something) back," from Old French retracter (14c.) and directly from Latin retractus, past participle of retrahere "to draw back" (see retraction). Sense of "to revoke, recant, take back" is attested from 1540s, probably a back-formation from retraction. Related: Retracted; retracting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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