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[trak-ter] /ˈtræk tər/
a powerful motor-driven vehicle with large, heavy treads, used for pulling farm machinery, other vehicles, etc.
Also called truck tractor. a short truck with a driver's cab but no body, designed for hauling a trailer or semitrailer.
something used for drawing or pulling.
  1. a propeller mounted at the front of an airplane, thus exerting a pull.
  2. Also called tractor airplane. an airplane with a propeller so mounted.
Origin of tractor
1855-60; < Latin trac-, variant stem of trahere to draw, pull + -tor -tor Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tractor
  • Still other exiles enthusiastically hie themselves to potato bowls and farm festivals and tractor pulls.
  • It's not so long ago that almost everyone was still a farmer, and with a horse or mule instead of a tractor.
  • Then a tractor comes and pulls the bus out, while the all-kinds-of-people help.
  • If a tractor is coming your way the left side of your car is scratched by the hedgerow you narrowly avoid crashing into.
  • After a dozen years, the crustacean will grow to the size of a tractor tire.
  • For other energy use, that's some farmer's ability to use a tractor rather than an ox.
  • The park service's tractor will then take the loads and loads of the pulled plants away for disposal.
  • And the collaborative feature allows a second player to help out by firing lasers and tractor beams at anything on the screen.
  • Ahead of us, a small tractor is pushing dirt around an equally dusty field.
  • Each system requires half a dozen or more large tractor trailer trucks to carry the radar, fuel supplies and laser.
British Dictionary definitions for tractor


a motor vehicle used to pull heavy loads, esp farm machinery such as a plough or harvester. It usually has two large rear wheels with deeply treaded tyres
a short motor vehicle with a powerful engine and a driver's cab, used to pull a trailer, as in an articulated lorry
an aircraft with its propeller or propellers mounted in front of the engine
Word Origin
C18: from Late Latin: one who pulls, 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 tractor

1856, "something that pulls," earlier used of a quack device consisting of two metal rods which were supposed to relieve rheumatism (1798, in full Perkins's metallic tractor), from Medieval Latin tractor, from stem of Latin trahere "to pull, draw" (see tract (n.1)).

Sense of "an engine or vehicle for pulling wagons or plows" is recorded by 1896, from earlier traction engine (1859). The meaning "powerful truck for pulling a freight trailer" is first found 1926; tractor-trailer is attested from 1949.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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