re·​trac·​tion | \ ri-ˈtrak-shən How to pronounce retraction (audio) \

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

In April, Boswell spearheaded a petition for the journal to issue a retraction. Sarah Wild, Quartz Africa, "How long-discredited “race science” research got published from two South African universities," 29 July 2019 Flagstaff police posted their retraction and apology to Nez the next day. Bree Burkitt, azcentral, "Flagstaff police say they arrested wrong man in highly publicized drug bust," 1 July 2019 The change in shape is also due to the surge in blood — the labia majora may retract, and their retraction can cause the labia minora to appear larger or even show for the first time. Kristi Kellogg, Glamour, "Your Vagina After Birth: 10 Things to Expect," 29 Apr. 2019 Indeed, that search, involving many labs over decades, has been marked by heated debate and, recently, a call for the retraction of more than 30 papers for falsified data. Quanta Magazine, "What Defines a Stem Cell? Scientists Rethink the Answer," 4 Dec. 2018 The lawsuits sought retractions and monetary damages and alleged that the Deadspin and Jezebel articles included false and libelous information. Jonathan Randles, WSJ, "Gizmodo Media Group Settles Defamation Lawsuits Led by Charles Harder," 18 Jan. 2019 The assertions being made by outside researchers and the retraction of multiple papers from academic journals by the Food and Brand Lab are concerning. Washington Post, "Science Says: What happens when researchers make mistakes," 13 June 2018 Staples provided a February 2015 demand letter that his lawyers sent to SDGLN demanding a retraction—but none was granted. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "“He never paid us a cent”—man suing Tesla has his own lawsuit-filled past," 31 Oct. 2018 Romero, who agrees with the scientific conclusion that fire triggered the collapses, demanded a retraction from the Journal. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Debunking the 9/11 Myths: Special Report - The World Trade Center," 10 Sep. 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

7 Aug 2019

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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 How to pronounce retraction (audio) \

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 How to pronounce retraction (audio) \

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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Spanish Central: Translation of retraction

Britannica English: Translation of retraction for Arabic Speakers

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What made you want to look up retraction? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to shake or wave menacingly

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