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

Once extricated, he was taken to UAB Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 5:53 p.m. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "4 die over the weekend following unrelated Jefferson County crashes," 9 Sep. 2019 The bank didn’t extricate itself until 2013; after that, Epstein moved to Deutsche Bank, which kept him on as a client until this summer. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, "The Failure to See What Jeffrey Epstein Was Doing," 18 Aug. 2019 Rodrick had to be extricated from his car, Erow said, and was transported to the hospital for a complaint of pain throughout his body. Amy Lavalley, Post-Tribune, "Four injured in two Porter County crashes," 11 May 2018 One occupant was able to get out of the car, but two others were seriously hurt and had to be extricated, police said. Joe Robertson And John Sleezer, kansascity, "Two teens seriously injured in Prairie Village crash," 7 Feb. 2018 He was pronounced dead on the scene at 8:20 p.m. Mountain Brook firefighters extricated the passenger from the vehicle. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "37-year-old Birmingham man identified as victim killed in U.S. 280 crash," 19 Aug. 2019 Stuck at the epicentre of a political storm, Mr Mueller sought to extricate himself as painlessly as possible. The Economist, "Impeachment looks even less likely now than before Robert Mueller’s testimony," 25 July 2019 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

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

25 Sep 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).


involving a confidence or trust

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