From Middle English tract, tracte, traht (“a treatise, exposition, commentary”), from Old English traht, tract (“a treatise, exposition, commentary, text, passage”); and also from Middle English tract, tracte (“an expanse of space or time”); both from Latin tractus (“a haul, drawing, a drawing out”), the perfect passive participle of trahō. Doublet of trait.
tract (plural tracts)
- An area or expanse.
- an unexplored tract of sea
- (anatomy) A series of connected body organs, such as the digestive tract.
- A small booklet such as a pamphlet, often for promotional or informational uses.
- A brief treatise or discourse on a subject.
- A commentator's view or perspective on a subject.
- Continued or protracted duration, length, extent
- 1843 April, Thomas Carlyle, “ch. XIV, Henry of Essex”, in Past and Present, American edition, Boston, Mass.: Charles C[offin] Little and James Brown, published 1843, →OCLC, book II (The Ancient Monk):
- 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 […]
- (Roman Catholicism) 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.
- (obsolete) Continuity or extension of anything.
- 1669, William Holder, Elements of Speech:
- in tract of speech
- (obsolete) Traits; features; lineaments.
- (obsolete) The footprint of a wild animal.
- (obsolete) Track; trace.
- c. 1605–1608, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Tymon of Athens”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, (please specify the act number in uppercase Roman numerals, and the scene number in lowercase Roman numerals):
- But flies an eagle flight, bold, and forth on, / Leaving no tract behind.
- (obsolete) Treatment; exposition.
- 1613 (date written), William Shakespeare, [John Fletcher], “The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eight”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [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
- biliary tract
- digestive tract
- gastrointestinal tract
- GI tract
- iliotibial tract
- lower respiratory tract
- pyramidal tract
- respiratory tract
- spinoreticular tract
- tract home
- tract house
- tract housing
- tract mansion
- tract of land
- Trans-Karakoram Tract
- upper respiratory tract
- urinary tract
- urinary tract infection
- vocal tract
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
tract m (plural tracts)