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 Critics warn of potential widespread damage as the United States attempts to extricate itself from an international health infrastructure in which it is entrenched. James Bandler, ProPublica, "Inside the Trump Administration’s Decision to Leave the World Health Organization," 20 June 2020 Your impulse is to extricate yourself, to retreat from everyone, to self-isolate. Arthur Longworth, The New Republic, "How to Survive Supermax," 18 June 2020 Carefully extricate the patty from the pan, flip it and then cook for an additional minute. cleveland, "It’s grilling season, but for a better burger, use the stove," 3 June 2020 Ashley Jones was mechanically extricated by the Crosby Township Fire Department and taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center while Erskin, who was in the front passenger seat, was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital, Western Ridge. James Weber, Cincinnati.com, "One dead, two injured in two-car crash in Crosby Township," 1 June 2020 One was trying to extricate his daughter from the passenger side when Slater ran around the car, stabbed the man and pulled the girl from his arms, according to the Sheriff’s Department. Matthew Ormseth, Los Angeles Times, "Palm Desert man threw daughter off a cliff, stabbed good Samaritan trying to help, sheriff says," 7 May 2020 The driver, whose name was not released by police, was extricated from the truck by Mesa fire personnel and taken to a hospital. Ryan Vlahovich, azcentral, "Elderly man in critical condition after crashing into light rail in Mesa," 29 Feb. 2020 Photographs on social media showed several people trying to extricate them. BostonGlobe.com, "Strong earthquake hits southern Philippines - The Boston Globe," 16 Dec. 2019 After a half-hearted attempt to extricate himself from his situation, Armstrong dug in his heels even further. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "The Rookie star Harold Perrineau on that final twist and getting his 'Denzel moment'," 11 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for extricate

Time Traveler

The first known use of extricate was in 1601

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Last Updated

24 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Extricate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extricate. Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for extricate


How to pronounce extricate (audio)

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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