noun re·trac·tion \ ri-ˈtrak-shən \
|Updated on: 7 Aug 2018

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

  1. His charges were false, and he was forced to make a retraction.

  2. the retraction of the plane's landing gear

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

Recent Examples of retraction from the Web

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.

First Known Use of retraction

14th century

in the meaning defined at sense 1

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RETRACTION Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of retraction for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Medical Dictionary


noun 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

Law Dictionary


noun 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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very hard to disturb or upset

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