verb ex·tri·cate \ ˈek-strə-ˌkāt \
|Updated on: 14 Aug 2018

Definition of extricate

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


play \ik-ˈstri-kə-bəl, ek-ˈstri-, ˈek-(ˌ)stri-\ adjective


play \ˌek-strə-ˈkā-shən\ noun

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Examples of extricate in a Sentence

  1. Several survivors were extricated from the wreckage.

  2. They extricated the tractor from the mud.

  3. She hasn't been able to extricate herself from her legal problems.

Recent Examples of extricate from the Web

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.

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."

Origin and Etymology of extricate

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

extricate Synonyms

Synonym Discussion of 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

EXTRICATE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of extricate for English Language Learners

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

EXTRICATE Defined for Kids


verb ex·tri·cate \ ˈek-strə-ˌkāt \

Definition of extricate for Students

extricated; extricating
: to free from a trap or difficulty

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fullness to the point of excess

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