ex·​tract | \ ik-ˈstrakt How to pronounce extract (audio) , usually in sense 5 ˈek-ˌstrakt \
extracted; extracting; extracts

Definition of extract

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to draw forth (as by research) extract data
b : to pull or take out forcibly extracted a wisdom tooth
c : to obtain by much effort from someone unwilling extracted a confession
2a : to withdraw (something, such as a juice or a constituent element) by physical or chemical process
b : to treat with a solvent so as to remove a soluble substance
3 : to separate (a metal) from an ore
4 : to determine (a mathematical root) by calculation
5 : to select (excerpts) and copy out or cite


ex·​tract | \ ˈek-ˌstrakt How to pronounce extract (audio) \

Definition of extract (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a selection from a writing or discourse : excerpt
2 : a product (such as an essence or concentrate) prepared by extracting especially : a solution (as in alcohol) of essential constituents of a complex material (such as meat or an aromatic plant)

Other Words from extract


extractability \ ik-​ˌstrak-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce extract (audio) , (ˌ)ek-​ \ noun
extractable \ ik-​ˈstrak-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce extract (audio) , ˈek-​ˌstrak-​ \ adjective

Synonyms for extract

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Choose the Right Synonym for extract


educe, evoke, elicit, extract, extort mean to draw out something hidden, latent, or reserved. educe implies the bringing out of something potential or latent. educed order out of chaos evoke implies a strong stimulus that arouses an emotion or an interest or recalls an image or memory. a song that evokes warm memories elicit usually implies some effort or skill in drawing forth a response. careful questioning elicited the truth extract implies the use of force or pressure in obtaining answers or information. extracted a confession from him extort suggests a wringing or wresting from one who resists strongly. extorted their cooperation by threatening to inform

Do you exact or extract revenge?

The verb exact (as in, "exacting revenge" or "exacting a promise") is not as commonly encountered as the adjective exact, (as in "an exact copy" or "exact measurements"). Sometimes people will mistakenly use the more common verb extract when they really want exact. Extract can refer to removing something by pulling or cutting or to getting information from someone who does not want to give it. While both words refer to getting something they are used in different ways. You extract a tooth, but you exact revenge.

The Crisscrossing Histories of Abstract and Extract


Abstract is most frequently used as an adjective (“abstract ideas”) and a noun (“an abstract of the article”), but its somewhat less common use as a verb in English helps to clarify its Latin roots. The verb abstract is used to mean “summarize,” as in “abstracting an academic paper.” This meaning is a figurative derivative of the verb’s meanings “to remove” or “to separate.”

We trace the origins of abstract to the combination of the Latin roots ab-, a prefix meaning “from” or “away,” with the verb trahere, meaning “to pull” or “to draw.” The result was the Latin verb abstrahere, which meant “to remove forcibly” or “to drag away.” Its past participle abstractus had the meanings “removed,” “secluded,” “incorporeal,” and, ultimately, “summarized,” meanings which came to English from Medieval Latin.

Interestingly, the word passed from Latin into French with competing spellings as both abstract (closer to the Latin) and abstrait (which reflected the French form of abstrahere, abstraire), the spelling retained in modern French.

The idea of “removing” or “pulling away” connects abstract to extract, which stems from Latin through the combination of trahere with the prefix ex-, meaning “out of” or “away from.” Extract forms a kind of mirror image of abstract: more common as a verb, but also used as a noun and adjective. The adjective, meaning “derived or descended,” is now obsolete, as is a sense of the noun that overlapped with abstract, “summary.” The words intersected and have separated in modern English, but it’s easy to see that abstract applies to something that has been summarized, and summarized means “extracted from a larger work.”

Examples of extract in a Sentence

Verb He extracted a credit card from his wallet. I had to have a tooth extracted. The tumor was surgically extracted. We finally extracted a confession from him. Investigators were able to extract useful information from the company's financial records. They are hoping to extract new insights from the test results. The machines extract the juice from the apples. oil extracted from sunflower seeds venom extracted from poisonous snakes Noun The recipe calls for a tablespoon of vanilla extract. the anthology includes a long extract from the epic poem See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Vegemite, which is a thick, brown Australian food spread made from leftover brewers' yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 24 Sep. 2022 James is looking to extract a steep price from the former president and his company. Ben Protess, BostonGlobe.com, 21 Sep. 2022 All hell breaks loose when a signal jammer blocks the caravan's mobile phones, Sweeney pops up to arrest Parker, and a team of heavily armed men appear to extract Maxwell, who Keyser Söze-ed them all. Sara Netzley, EW.com, 20 Sep. 2022 Fortescue is committing to use a combination of wind and solar power, battery storage and hydrogen produced from renewable energy to generate the electricity and fuel needed to extract iron ore, company officials said. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, 19 Sep. 2022 Law enforcement officials said people steal and sell the devices for hundreds of dollars to scrapyards or recycling centers where they can be melted to extract the metals — palladium, rhodium and platinum. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Sep. 2022 As a result of the Ukraine war and Western sanctions, China will now be in a position to extract punishingly advantageous energy contracts from Russia, as Moscow loses its biggest energy market in Europe. Robyn Dixon, Washington Post, 16 Sep. 2022 Plugging the $4,999 Utopia headphones into the $3,800 Uniti Atom Headphone Edition amplifier from Naim Audio (the English brand has united with Focal) lets listeners extract the very best performance from the Utopia. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 16 Sep. 2022 In fact, there was astrophysics to be done with the astrographic catalog, but the analysis techniques required to extract this science did not yet exist. H.j. Mccracken, Ars Technica, 13 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Plus, the formula holds dragon fruit extract to help extend wear time. Angela Trakoshis, Allure, 26 Sep. 2022 This dual-phase, setting and refreshing spray, utilizes blue agave extract to bind makeup to the skin. Cristina Montemayor, SELF, 26 Sep. 2022 In a blender, place the fat-free milk, yogurt, peach slices, cherries, banana slices, pomegranate juice, ice, dates, ground cinnamon and vanilla extract in blender. Bethany Thayer, Detroit Free Press, 24 Sep. 2022 This shampoo bar is specifically formulated with smoothing ingredients like olive extract to help tame thick, coarse, and frizzy hair. Emily Burns, ELLE, 24 Sep. 2022 With a light fragrance, frothy—but not overwhelming—foam, and nourishing aloe and oat extract, this formula is the platonic ideal of shaving cream. Lindy Segal, Harper's BAZAAR, 23 Sep. 2022 The trial’s main endpoint was how overall cognition changed over the three-year period in those who’d taken cocoa extract versus a placebo. Jonathan Wosen, STAT, 16 Sep. 2022 Put powdered sugar and almond extract in a small bowl. Carol Deptolla, Journal Sentinel, 16 Sep. 2022 Formulated with oily, acne-prone skin in mind, this features a cocktail of silymarin (milk thistle extract), l-ascorbic acid, ferulic and salicylic acid, to reduce oiliness, breakouts, and skin texture. Kiana Murden, Vogue, 15 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'extract.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of extract


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for extract


Middle English, from Latin extractus, past participle of extrahere, from ex- + trahere to draw

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Time Traveler for extract

Time Traveler

The first known use of extract was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

27 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Extract.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extract. Accessed 6 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for extract


ex·​tract | \ ik-ˈstrakt How to pronounce extract (audio) \
extracted; extracting

Kids Definition of extract

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to remove by pulling extract a tooth
2 : to get out by pressing, distilling, or by a chemical process extract juice
3 : to choose and take out for separate use He extracted a few lines from a poem.


ex·​tract | \ ˈek-ˌstrakt How to pronounce extract (audio) \

Kids Definition of extract (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a selection from a writing
2 : a product obtained by pressing, distilling, or by a chemical process vanilla extract


transitive verb
ex·​tract | \ ik-ˈstrakt How to pronounce extract (audio) \

Medical Definition of extract

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to pull or take out forcibly extracted a wisdom tooth
2 : to withdraw (as the medicinally active components of a plant or animal tissue) by physical or chemical process also : to treat with a solvent so as to remove a soluble substance

Other Words from extract

extractability \ ik-​ˌstrak-​tə-​ˈbil-​ət-​ē, (ˌ)ek-​ How to pronounce extract (audio) \ noun, plural extractabilities
extractable also extractible \ ik-​ˈstrak-​tə-​bəl, ˈek-​ˌ How to pronounce extract (audio) \ adjective


ex·​tract | \ ˈek-ˌstrakt How to pronounce extract (audio) \

Medical Definition of extract (Entry 2 of 2)

: something prepared by extracting especially : a medicinally active pharmaceutical solution


ex·​tract | \ ˈek-ˌstrakt How to pronounce extract (audio) \

Legal Definition of extract

: a certified copy of a document that forms part of or is preserved in a public record

More from Merriam-Webster on extract

Nglish: Translation of extract for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of extract for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about extract


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