ex·​tri·​cate | \ ˈek-strə-ˌkāt How to pronounce extricate (audio) \
extricated; extricating

Definition of extricate

transitive verb

1 : to free or remove from an entanglement or difficulty
2a : to distinguish from a related thing
b archaic : unravel

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Other Words from extricate

extricable \ ik-​ˈstri-​kə-​bəl How to pronounce extricable (audio) , ek-​ˈstri-​ , ˈek-​(ˌ)stri-​ How to pronounce extricable (audio) \ adjective
extrication \ ˌek-​strə-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce extrication (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for extricate

extricate, disentangle, untangle, disencumber, disembarrass mean to free from what binds or holds back. extricate implies the use of care or ingenuity in freeing from a difficult position or situation. extricated himself from financial difficulties disentangle and untangle suggest painstaking separation of a thing from other things. disentangling fact from fiction untangle a web of deceit disencumber implies a release from something that clogs or weighs down. an article disencumbered of jargon disembarrass suggests a release from something that impedes or hinders. disembarrassed herself of her advisers

Did You Know?

It can take an ample amount of dexterity - manual, verbal, or mental - to free yourself from a tangled situation. This can be seen in extricate, a word derived from Latin extricatus, which combines the prefix ex- ("out of") with the noun tricae, meaning "trifles or perplexities." (The resemblance of tricae to our word trick is no illusion; it’s an ancestor.) While a number of words (such as "disentangle") share with extricate the meaning of "to free from difficulty," extricate suggests the act of doing so with care and ingenuity, as in "Through months of careful budgeting, he was able to extricate himself from his financial burdens."

Examples of extricate in a Sentence

Several survivors were extricated from the wreckage. They extricated the tractor from the mud. She hasn't been able to extricate herself from her legal problems.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Ventura County Firefighters extricate one of 2 fatal victims of a single engine aircraft that crashed approx 1:30pm at Camarillo Airport. Alex Wigglesworth, Los Angeles Times, "Two killed in crash of small plane at Camarillo Airport," 7 Aug. 2019 There is now a need to extricate it from regressive nationalist politics, moving it towards a broader intersectional framework of progressive queerness. Anish Gawande, Quartz India, "Transgender citizens: The other “integral part of India” that may have been shortchanged by its parliament," 6 Aug. 2019 The injured occupants were trapped in the car and firefighters extricated both of them following the crash, State Police said in a tweet early Sunday morning. Amanda Kaufman, BostonGlobe.com, "Taunton woman killed Saturday night in two-car crash in Norton," 21 July 2019 The operator self extricated himself via the drivers side door, that is under the trailer. Ashley Boucher, PEOPLE.com, "Driver Suffers Only Minor Injuries After His Car Was Launched into the Air and Slid Under a Truck," 17 July 2019 The driver of the Jeep was extricated from the vehicle and taken to a local hospital with serious injuries. Megan Jones, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora woman who died in fatal crash identified," 12 June 2019 Police extricated him from the vehicle and paramedics took him to Froedtert Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "New Berlin man dies after crashing car into Living Word Apostolic Church on National Avenue," 11 June 2019 Disadvantages include varying degrees of difficulty in extricating the phone from the mount. Julio Ojeda-zapata, Twin Cities, "MN drivers: If you want to use your phone in the car, you’ll need a mount. Here’s how to select one.," 25 July 2019 Police and firefighters had to use an off-road utility vehicle to extricate the man from the area. Josh Coe, BostonGlobe.com, "Man injured in fall on rocks at Gloucester quarry," 6 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'extricate.' 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 extricate

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

History and Etymology for extricate

Latin extricatus, past participle of extricare, from ex- + tricae trifles, perplexities

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Statistics for extricate

Last Updated

14 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for extricate

The first known use of extricate was in 1601

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More Definitions for extricate



English Language Learners Definition of extricate

: to free or remove (someone or something) from something (such as a trap or a difficult situation)


ex·​tri·​cate | \ ˈek-strə-ˌkāt How to pronounce extricate (audio) \
extricated; extricating

Kids Definition of extricate

: to free from a trap or difficulty

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Comments on extricate

What made you want to look up extricate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a haphazard or makeshift solution

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