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Etymology 1[edit]

From tractate, from Latin tractatus, or a borrowing 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
    • Milton
      the deep tract of hell
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Sir Thomas Browne
      Efface all tract of its traduction.
    • Shakespeare
      But flies an eagle flight, bold, and forth on, / Leaving no tract behind.
  12. (obsolete) Treatment; exposition.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
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 Help:How to check 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.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.i:
      Where may that treachour then (said he) be found, / Or by what meanes may I his footing tract?
  2. (obsolete) To draw out; to protract.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Ben Jonson to this entry?)



Borrowing from English tract.


tract m (plural tracts)

  1. flyer, circular. pamphlet

Derived terms[edit]

External links[edit]