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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb So while these companies can extract land data and use it to make money, the marginalized folks who live in these areas and earn their living from the land are pushed further to the peripheries. Payal Dhar, Wired, 15 Nov. 2021 For visitors and residents alike, practicing meditation in Thailand offers the chance to step back, extract one's self from the rat race for a short time, and take a look at the bigger picture. Joe Cummings, CNN, 2 Nov. 2021 Canadian tar sands oil requires more emissions to extract and transport than conventional oil. Evan Simon, ABC News, 29 Oct. 2021 Most are treated by dialysis machines that filter blood to extract toxins and maintain chemical and fluid balance. Joel Zinberg, National Review, 29 Oct. 2021 Fueling research with this data gives marketers the ability to extract preferences and tie them directly to actual behaviors. Paul Talbot, Forbes, 22 Oct. 2021 An oil boom means tribal members have royalty money to spend and the Detroit dealers can blend in on the reservation amid a bevy of diverse workers brought in to extract and carry off the oil. courier-journal.com, 22 Sep. 2021 The idea is to extract part of the x-ray pulse generated by one bunch of electrons and feed it back to the entrance of the undulators just in time to overlap with the next bunch of electrons. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, 27 Aug. 2021 Reduce the mixer speed to medium, add the vanilla seeds or extract and mix for a few seconds to incorporate. Washington Post, 26 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Beat cream cheese, peppermint extract, and a pinch of salt in a second bowl until smooth, about 30 seconds. Torie Cox, Country Living, 4 Nov. 2021 On oily areas like the T-zone, the Stabilizing Cleansing Mask is an all-in-one cleanser and mask that cleanses pores with salicylic acid, willow bark extract, and kaolin clay. Megan Mcintyre, Town & Country, 21 Sep. 2021 Deep Clean Shampoo is made from apple cider vinegar, ginseng, sage leaf extract and menthol. Los Angeles Times, 4 Nov. 2021 Whisk together cream, sugar, and vanilla extract or coffee with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until starting to thicken. Cheryl Day, Country Living, 4 Nov. 2021 Made using 23% zinc oxide, and a range of other vegan, cruelty-free ingredients including kiwi fruit water, ku shen root extract and prismatic powder for luminosity, this block feels weightless and non-greasy. Margaux Lushing, Forbes, 3 Nov. 2021 For the tart: Mix the cream, sugar, Grand Marnier, almond extract and salt in a saucepan large enough for the mixture to triple in volume, stirring well. Deb Wandell, San Francisco Chronicle, 7 Oct. 2021 Marmite is a yeast extract and a byproduct of the beer brewing process. Amy Drew Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, 28 Sep. 2021 Epic Western Ranch Water is made with a certified organic 100% blue Weber agave tequila and real Mexican mineral water sourced from a well in Jalisco, plus lime extract and a dash of salt. Kevin Gray, Dallas News, 21 Sep. 2021

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.

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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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Dictionary Entries Near extract




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Last Updated

26 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Extract.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extract. Accessed 2 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for extract



English Language Learners Definition of extract

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to remove (something) by pulling it out or cutting it out
: to get (information, a response, etc.) from someone who does not want to give it
: to get (something, such as information) from something



English Language Learners Definition of extract (Entry 2 of 2)

: a substance that you get from something by using a machine or chemicals
: a short piece of writing that is taken from a longer work (such as a book)


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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