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tract1

[trakt] /trækt/
noun
1.
an expanse or area of land, water, etc.; region; stretch.
2.
Anatomy.
  1. a definite region or area of the body, especially a group, series, or system of related parts or organs:
    the digestive tract.
  2. a bundle of nerve fibers having a common origin and destination.
3.
a stretch or period of time; interval; lapse.
4.
Roman Catholic Church. an anthem consisting of verses of Scripture, sung after the gradual in the Mass from Septuagesima until the day before Easter and on certain other occasions, taking the place of the alleluias and the verse that ordinarily accompany the gradual.
5.
Ornithology. a pteryla.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; (in senses referring to extent of space) < Latin tractus stretch (of space or time), a drawing out, equivalent to trac-, variant stem of trahere to draw + -tus suffix of v. action; (def 4) < Medieval Latin tractus, apparently identical with the above, though literal sense unexplained
Synonyms
1. district, territory.

tract2

[trakt] /trækt/
noun
1.
a brief treatise or pamphlet for general distribution, usually on a religious or political topic.
Origin
1400-50; late Middle English tracte, apparently shortening of Medieval Latin tractātus tractate
Synonyms
essay, homily, disquisition.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for tracts
  • Obese adults are not going to lose weight unless they decide to have their stomachs separated from their digestive tracts.
  • Vast tracts of rainforest are indeed being cut down to plant commodity crops, particularly soy.
  • Many of its roads are tracts of mud, and hardly a car or truck engine breaks the whisper of the wind in its birches and aspens.
  • Their ancestors lived a semi-nomadic life across large tracts of the desert.
  • Today ticks still rule over immense tracts of the terrestrial globe, and microbes rule absolutely.
  • tracts of little houses are clustered in the shadows of their smoke.
  • His sixpenny tracts for diffusing knowledge may well have been intended for the artless and the educationally impoverished.
  • Interspersed with the more hopeful areas are other tracts apparently abandoned to their fate.
  • Mammals are born with sterile digestive tracts, which are quickly colonized by bacteria, generally from their mothers.
  • Recreation opportunities in these extensive tracts of timber are manifold.
British Dictionary definitions for tracts

tract1

/trækt/
noun
1.
an extended area, as of land
2.
(anatomy) a system of organs, glands, or other tissues that has a particular function: the digestive tract
3.
a bundle of nerve fibres having the same function, origin, and termination: the optic tract
4.
(archaic) an extended period of time
Word Origin
C15: from Latin tractus a stretching out, from trahere to drag

tract2

/trækt/
noun
1.
a treatise or pamphlet, esp a religious or moralistic one
Word Origin
C15: from Latin tractātustractate

tract3

/trækt/
noun
1.
(RC Church) an anthem in some Masses
Word Origin
C14: from Medieval Latin tractus cantus extended song; see tract1
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 tracts

tract

n.

"area," late 15c., "period or lapse of time," from Latin tractus "track, course, space, duration," lit, "a drawing out or pulling," from stem of trahere "to pull, draw," from PIE root *tragh- "to draw, drag, move" (cf. Slovenian trag "trace, track," Middle Irish tragud "ebb," perhaps with a variant form *dhragh-; see drag (v.)). The meaning "stretch of land or water" is first recorded 1550s. Specific U.S. sense of "plot of land for development" is recorded from 1912; tract houses attested from 1963.

"little book, treatise" mid-12c., probably a shortened form of Latin tractatus "a handling, treatise, treatment," from tractare "to handle" (see treat). Not in any other language, according to OED.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tracts in Medicine

tract (trākt)
n.

  1. An elongated assembly of tissue or organs having a common origin, function, and termination, or a serial arrangement having a common function.

  2. A bundle of nerve fibers having a common origin, termination, and function.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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tracts in Science
tract
  (trākt)   
  1. A series of body organs that work together to perform a specialized function, such as digestion.

  2. A bundle of nerve fibers, especially in the central nervous system, that begin and end in the same place and share a common function.


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