verb (used with object)
to withdraw or take away, as a part from a whole.
Mathematics. to take (one number or quantity) from another; deduct.
verb (used without object)
to take away something or a part, as from a whole.

1530–40; < Latin subtractus (past participle of subtrahere to draw away from underneath), equivalent to sub- sub- + trac- (past participle stem of trahere to draw) + -tus past participle suffix

subtracter, noun
unsubtracted, adjective

1, 3. Subtract, deduct express diminution in sum or quantity. To subtract suggests taking a part from a whole or a smaller from a larger: to subtract the tax from one's salary. To deduct is to take away an amount or quantity from an aggregate or total so as to lessen or lower it: to deduct a discount. Subtract is both transitive and intransitive, and has general or figurative uses; deduct is always transitive and usually concrete and practical in application.

1–3. add. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To subtract
World English Dictionary
subtract (səbˈtrækt)
1.  to calculate the difference between (two numbers or quantities) by subtraction
2.  to remove (a part of a thing, quantity, etc) from the whole
[C16: from Latin subtractus withdrawn, from subtrahere to draw away from beneath, from sub- + trahere to draw]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Example sentences
Negotiators spent several hours this week debating which items to add or
  subtract, but reached no conclusions.
Whether that would add or subtract from the confusion remains unclear.
Next, subtract the stock's price on the last trading day of the previous year
  to get what we'll call the gain.
Indeed, changes in valuation may subtract from future returns.
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