9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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.
Origin of retract2
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 retractable
  • The rugged wheels and retractable handle will get you through the busiest and bumpiest journeys.
  • So it uses retractable wheels at the beginning and the end of a run.
  • The retractable self-cleaning bidet wand is fully controllable.
  • The tripod also has retractable spiked feet and can extend to anywhere between two and six feet.
  • The film would have to be retractable and each one under our control.
  • The power retractable top hides in a receptacle behind the rear seat, which sacrifices leg room.
  • The proposed stadium would include a retractable roof.
  • Comes with retractable microphone and interchangeable faction symbols.
  • The pool is heated and covered by a retractable roof.
  • When the weather warms, the retractable roof opens up and lets the sun pour in.
British Dictionary definitions for retractable


(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
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Word Origin and History for retractable

"capable of being drawn in," 1769; see retract + -able. Meaning "capable of being disowned" is recorded from 1610s. Also sometimes spelled retractible.



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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