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[trak-shuh n] /ˈtræk ʃən/
the adhesive friction of a body on some surface, as a wheel on a rail or a tire on a road.
the action of drawing a body, vehicle, train, or the like, along a surface, as a road, track, railroad, or waterway.
Medicine/Medical. the deliberate and prolonged pulling of a muscle, organ, or the like, as by weights, to correct dislocation, relieve pressure, etc.
transportation by means of railroads.
the act of drawing or pulling.
the state of being drawn.
attracting power or influence; attraction.
Origin of traction
1605-15; < Medieval Latin tractiōn- (stem of tractiō) act of drawing, equivalent to tract(us), past participle of trahere to draw + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
tractional, adjective
nontraction, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for traction
  • Wet wrinkling may serve a purpose: better grip and traction.
  • The idea didn't gain much traction among board members.
  • Such systems would be operated electronically, so they would also provide traction control.
  • Their sharp claws and the fur on the bottoms of their feet give them traction on the slippery surface.
  • It took two decades or more for global warming to gain any serious traction.
  • Expensive sports cars with traction control systems invariably have a switch to turn it off.
  • Ideas around counter-cyclical charges and minimum liquidity buffers have traction.
  • The fur gives them better traction on ice, while the claws are excellent weapons for hunting.
  • Concerns about the corn syrup have begun to gain traction.
  • He was a prominent carriage and automobile manufacturer and besides had extensive traction interests.
British Dictionary definitions for traction


the act of drawing or pulling, esp by motive power
the state of being drawn or pulled
(med) the application of a steady pull on a part during healing of a fractured or dislocated bone, using a system of weights and pulleys or splints
the adhesive friction between a wheel and a surface, as between a driving wheel of a motor vehicle and the road
Derived Forms
tractional, adjective
tractive (ˈtræktɪv) adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin tractiō, from Latin tractus dragged; see tractile
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 traction

early 15c., "a drawing or pulling" (originally the pulling of a dislocated limb to reposition it), from Medieval Latin tractionem (nominative tractio) "a drawing" (mid-13c.), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin trahere "to pull, draw" (see tract (n.1)). Sense of "rolling friction of a vehicle" first appears 1825.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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traction in Medicine

traction trac·tion (trāk'shən)

  1. The act of drawing or pulling.

  2. A pulling force.

  3. A sustained pull applied mechanically, especially to the arm, leg, or neck, to correct fractured or dislocated bones, to overcome muscle spasms, or to relieve pressure.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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traction in Science
  1. Static friction, as of a wheel on a track or a tire on a road. See more at friction.

  2. A sustained pulling force applied mechanically to a part of the body by means of a weighted apparatus in order to correct the position of fractured or dislocated bones, especially of the arm, leg, or neck.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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