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.

1605–15; < Medieval Latin tractiōn- (stem of tractiō) act of drawing, equivalent to tract(us), past participle of trahere to draw + -iōn- -ion

tractional, adjective
nontraction, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
traction (ˈtrækʃən)
1.  the act of drawing or pulling, esp by motive power
2.  the state of being drawn or pulled
3.  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
4.  the adhesive friction between a wheel and a surface, as between a driving wheel of a motor vehicle and the road
[C17: from Medieval Latin tractiō, from Latin tractus dragged; see tractile]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1610s, "a drawing or pulling," from M.L. tractionem (nom. tractio) "a drawing" (mid-13c.), noun of action from stem of L. trahere "to pull, draw" (see tract (1)). Sense of "rolling friction of a vehicle" first appears 1825.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
traction   (trāk'shən)  Pronunciation Key 
  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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