v. re·tract·ed, re·tract·ing, re·tracts
1. To take back; disavow: refused to retract the statement.
2. To draw back or in: a plane retracting its landing gear.
a. To utter (a sound) with the tongue drawn back.
b. To draw back (the tongue).
1. To take something back or disavow it.
2. To draw back: a leash that retracts into a plastic case. See Synonyms at recede1.
[Latin retractāre, to revoke, frequentative of retrahere, to draw back : re-, re- + trahere, to draw. V., tr., senses 2 and 3, and v., intr., sense 2, Middle English retracten, from Old French retracter, from Latin retractus, past participle of retrahere.]
re·tract′a·bili·ty, re·tract′i·bili·ty n.
re·tracta·ble, re·tracti·ble adj.
re′trac·tation (rē′trăk-tāshən) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.