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Etymology 1[edit]

From tractate, from Latin tractatus, or borrowed from Latin tractus, the perfect passive participle of trahō. Doublet of trait.


tract (plural tracts)

  1. An area or expanse.
    an unexplored tract of sea
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
      the deep tract of hell
    • (Can we date this quote?) Addison
      a very high mountain joined to the mainland by a narrow tract of earth
  2. A series of connected body organs, as in the digestive tract.
  3. A small booklet such as a pamphlet, often for promotional or informational uses.
  4. A brief treatise or discourse on a subject.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Jonathan Swift
      The church clergy at that writ the best collection of tracts against popery that ever appeared.
  5. A commentator's view or perspective on a subject.
  6. Continued or protracted duration, length, extent
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
      improved by tract of time
    • 1843, Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present, book 2, ch. XIV, Henry of Essex
      Nay, in another case of litigation, the unjust Standard bearer, for his own profit, asserting that the cause belonged not to St. Edmund’s Court, but to his in Lailand Hundred, involved us in travellings and innumerable expenses, vexing the servants of St. Edmund for a long tract of time []
  7. Part of the proper of the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist for many Christian denominations, used instead of the alleluia during Lenten or pre-Lenten seasons, in a Requiem Mass, and on a few other penitential occasions.
  8. (obsolete) Continuity or extension of anything.
    the tract of speech
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Older to this entry?)
  9. (obsolete) Traits; features; lineaments.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Francis Bacon
      The discovery of a man's self by the tracts of his countenance is a great weakness.
  10. (obsolete) The footprint of a wild animal.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Dryden to this entry?)
  11. (obsolete) Track; trace.
  12. (obsolete) Treatment; exposition.
    • (Can we date this quote?) William Shakespeare, Henry VIII, Act I, Scene I.
      The tract of every thing Would, by a good discourser, lose some life Which action's self was tongue to.
  • (series of connected body organs): system
Related terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

From tractus, the participle stem of Latin trahere.


tract (third-person singular simple present tracts, present participle tracting, simple past and past participle tracted)

  1. (obsolete) To pursue, follow; to track.
  2. (obsolete) To draw out; to protract.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Ben Jonson to this entry?)




Borrowed from English tract.



tract m (plural tracts)

  1. flyer, circular, pamphlet

Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]