From Middle English retracten, borrowed from Old French retracter, from Late Latin rētractō (“I undertake again; I withdraw, refuse, decline; I retract”), from Latin retractus (“withdrawn”), perfect passive participle of retrahō (“I draw or pull back, withdraw; I call back, remove”). Doublet of retreat.
- (transitive) To pull back inside.
- An airplane retracts its wheels for flight.
- The wheelchair ramp on the bus wouldn't retract after use, it required persuasion by hand before the bus could move.
- (transitive, intransitive) To draw back; to draw up.
- Muscles retract after amputation.
- A cat can retract its claws.
- (transitive) To take back or withdraw something one has said.
- I retract all the accusations I made about the senator and sincerely hope he won't sue me.
- 1676, Edward Stillingfleet, A Defence of the Discourse Concerning the Idolatry Practised in the Church
- I would as freely have retracted this charge of idolatry as I ever made it.
- 1726, George Granville, The British Enchanters
- She will, and she will not; she grants, denies, / Consents, retracts, advances, and then flies.
- To take back, as a grant or favour previously bestowed; to revoke.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Woodward to this entry?)
- (to take back or withdraw something one has said): take back, withcall, withdraw; See also Thesaurus:recant