re·trac·tion | \ri-ˈtrak-shən \

Definition of retraction 

1 : an act of recanting specifically : a statement made by one retracting

2 : an act of retracting : the state of being retracted

3 : the ability to retract

Examples of retraction in a Sentence

His charges were false, and he was forced to make a retraction. the retraction of the plane's landing gear Then, last spring, Gabriel Arana, an editor at The American Prospect who had undergone several years of reparative therapy in his teens, called on Spitzer at his home in Princeton, New Jersey. Arana, as he wrote movingly in an essay he later published in the magazine, had been driven to depression and nearly to suicide by the treatment, before he (and his parents) came to terms with his homosexuality. When Arana asked Spitzer about the criticisms that had been leveled against his paper, Spitzer told him, “In retrospect, I have to admit I think the critiques are largely correct,” and then went on to ask Arana if he would print a retraction of the study so that he wouldn’t “have to worry about it anymore.” —“Brave Thinkers” P. 54, THE ATLANTIC Vol. 310 No. 4, November, 2012 Fears of magical penis loss were not limited to the Orient. The Malleus Maleficarum, medieval Europeans’ primary guidebook to witches and their ways, warned that witches could cause one’s membrum virile to vanish, and indeed several chapters were dedicated to this topic. Likewise the Compendium Maleficarum warned that witches had many ways to affect one’s potency, the seventh of which included “a retraction, hiding or actual removal of the male genitals.” (This could be either a temporary or a permanent condition.) Even in the 1960s, there were reports of Italian migrant workers in Switzerland panicking over a loss of virility caused by witchcraft. —“A Mind Dismembered” P. 61, Frank Bures, HARPER’S MAGAZINE Vol. 316 No. 1897, June 2008 He was about to speak, when the phone rang. He threw his napkin down and stood up. “That better be from the Times. If they don’t print that retraction tomorrow I’m going to be mad as a hornet.” —“Chapter Sixteen” P 289, HARRIET THE SPY, Louise Fitzhugh, Dell Yearling (1964) 2001 Also, we might remark, that very range of magical practice the demons had helped to uncover, and which allowed of such a variety of victories, allowed also of a wide choice of tolerances. Ironically, the more vague and sweeping the earlier condemnations had been, the more scope there was now for retractions which might, though belatedly, win some friends. —“The Demonisation ...” P. 338, WITCHCRAFT AND MAGIC IN EUROPE, Valerie Flint [British Author], Univ. of PA Press 133.4 W17 1999 In return, Abbs avoids possible debarment and gets his rebuttal of the charges placed in the official file. The agreement also requires notification of Neurology, but not retraction of the article. Robert Daroff, the journal’s editor in chief, says: “If Abbs doesn’t, I will retract.” —“News & Comment” P. 948, Jock Friedly, SCIENCE Vol. 272, May 17, 1996
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Recent Examples on the Web

The column was still on The Spectator’s website Friday evening without any correction or retraction note. New York Times, "Did Harvey Weinstein Admit to Trading Movie Roles for Sex?," 13 July 2018 Rao, who so far has lost two papers to retraction and may well lose several more, sued the school, claiming discrimination. Adam Marcus,, "Retraction Watch: Fall from grace," 29 June 2018 But the sad thing is that this photo goes out, thousand -- tens of thousands of times, and then the retraction and the deletion doesn't get seen, so the damage is already done. Fox News, "ABC axes 'Roseanne' following star's racially-charged tweet," 30 May 2018 Additionally, the firm is demanding an apology and retraction of portions of the story concerning Lori McCreary, the co-founder of Revelations. Yohana Desta, HWD, "Morgan Freeman’s Legal Team Demands Retraction, Apology Over Sexual Harassment Report," 29 May 2018 Did Lebovits demand a retraction from Bloomberg if he was not quoted accurately? Adam Feuerstein, STAT, "ALS drug maker walks back plan to profit from right-to-try law following heavy criticism," 26 June 2018 But despite Trump’s assertion, ABC apologized for the story, issued a full retraction and suspended Brian Ross for a month without pay. Howard Kurtz, Fox News, "Trump's anti-media tweetstorm: Some hits, some misses, all red meat," 1 June 2018 Time defended the cover, even after the retraction on the article. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Time’s crying girl photo controversy, explained," 22 June 2018 Three other retractions from a different journal appear to be in the offing. Adam Marcus,, "A perplexing pseudonym," 17 June 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for retraction

The first known use of retraction was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of retraction

: a statement saying that something you said or wrote at an earlier time is not true or correct

: the act of moving something back into a larger part that usually covers it : the act of retracting something


re·trac·tion | \ri-ˈtrak-shən \

Medical Definition of retraction 

: an act or instance of retracting specifically : backward or inward movement of an organ or part retraction of the nipple or skin overlying the tumor Journal of the American Medical Association


re·trac·tion | \ri-ˈtrak-shən \

Legal Definition of retraction 

: an act of taking back or withdrawing retraction of a confession her retraction of the defamatory statement

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