extract

1 of 2

verb

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

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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
extractability noun
extractable
ik-ˈstrak-tə-bəl How to pronounce extract (audio)
ˈek-ˌstrak-
adjective

extract

2 of 2

noun

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

Did you know?

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.

Did you know?

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.”

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

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
The general public must understand that the current system has been set up to extract extra money from them, money that could be used for other things. Jake Frenz, STAT, 12 June 2024 And taking someone’s last hundred dollars as a fine is more serious than extracting that fine from a billionaire. Kwame Anthony Appiah, New York Times, 12 June 2024
Noun
Each chapter begins with an extract from a letter; Stauffer then discusses the context that inspired it. The Week Staff, theweek, 6 June 2024 Launched in 2017, Heineken 0.0 is made with water, barley malt, hop extracts and yeast — the same ingredients used for Heineken. Jason Ma, Fortune Europe, 2 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for extract 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'extract.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

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

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near extract

Cite this Entry

“Extract.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extract. Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

extract

1 of 2 verb
ex·​tract ik-ˈstrakt How to pronounce extract (audio)
 usually in sense 4  ek-ˌstrakt
1
: to remove by pulling
extract a tooth
2
: to get out by pressing, distilling, or by a chemical process
extract juice from apples
3
: to calculate a mathematical root
4
: to choose and take out for separate use
extract a few lines from a poem
extractable adjective
extractor
-tər
noun

extract

2 of 2 noun
ex·​tract ˈek-ˌstrakt How to pronounce extract (audio)
1
: a selection from a writing
2
: a product obtained by extracting
vanilla extract

Medical Definition

extract

1 of 2 transitive verb
ex·​tract ik-ˈstrakt How to pronounce extract (audio)
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
extractability noun
plural extractabilities
extractable adjective

extract

2 of 2 noun
ex·​tract ˈek-ˌstrakt How to pronounce extract (audio)
: something prepared by extracting
especially : a medicinally active pharmaceutical solution

Legal Definition

extract

noun
ex·​tract ˈek-ˌstrakt How to pronounce extract (audio)
: a certified copy of a document that forms part of or is preserved in a public record

More from Merriam-Webster on extract

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