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

transitive verb

: to free or remove from an entanglement or difficulty
: to distinguish from a related thing
archaic : unravel
extricable adjective
extrication noun

Did you know?

Extricate is used for the act of freeing someone or something from a tangled situation. Its spelling and meaning comes from Latin extricatus, which combines the prefix ex- ("out of") with the noun tricae, meaning "trifles or perplexities." The resemblance of tricae to trick is no illusion—it's an ancestor.

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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Clinicians can partner with patients and communities to destigmatize lung cancer and tobacco dependence, extricating the disease from blame. Nina Thomas, Discover Magazine, 9 May 2024 But before guards who were prepared to extricate him began the process, a senior officer talked the older man into leaving his cell and handcuffed his hands behind his back. Charles Rabin, Miami Herald, 8 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for extricate 

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

Time Traveler
The first known use of extricate was in 1601


Dictionary Entries Near extricate

Cite this Entry

“Extricate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extricate. Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


ex·​tri·​cate ˈek-strə-ˌkāt How to pronounce extricate (audio)
extricated; extricating
: to free or remove from entanglement or difficulty
extrication noun

More from Merriam-Webster on extricate

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