sub·​tract səb-ˈtrakt How to pronounce subtract (audio)
subtracted; subtracting; subtracts

transitive verb

: to take away by or as if by deducting
subtract 5 from 9
subtract funds from the project
subtracter noun

Examples of subtract in a Sentence

if you subtract 10 from 23, you get 13 you can subtract the time you spent daydreaming from your total homework time
Recent Examples on the Web Abruptly subtracting a million or more would have the opposite effect. Doyle McManus, The Mercury News, 27 Mar. 2024 For the first time in history, world timekeepers may have to consider subtracting a second from our clocks in a few years because the planet is rotating a tad faster. CBS News, 27 Mar. 2024 Most foot peels can be left on for between 45 and 90 minutes, but always double-check the manufacturer's instructions before adding or subtracting time. Jessie Quinn, Peoplemag, 14 Mar. 2024 Temperatures bottom out in the mid-20s to low 30s, but subtract about 10 degrees to account for wind chills. A. Camden Walker, Washington Post, 23 Mar. 2024 To determine your maximum heart rate, first subtract your age from 220, then calculate 70% of that. Melanie Radzicki McManus, CNN, 12 Mar. 2024 This certainly isn’t a playoff team as currently constructed and more pieces will have to be added — while a few are subtracted — for the fans to believe. Roderick Boone, Charlotte Observer, 19 Feb. 2024 One of the more obvious examples of partisan artifice was in the northwest corner of the state, in the 73rd Assembly District, where the GOP had strategically added Republican areas and subtracted Democratic ones in a plan enacted in 2022. Megan O’Matz, ProPublica, 16 Feb. 2024 The biases in the numbers that depict the Arctic’s climate after subtracting the Russian data could be as dramatic as the effects that climate change itself is expect to cause by 2100, says lead study author Efrén López-Blanco, an Arctic ecosystem modeler at Aarhus University in Denmark. Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, 22 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'subtract.' 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 subtractus, past participle of subtrahere to draw from beneath, withdraw, from sub- + trahere to draw

First Known Use

1557, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of subtract was in 1557

Dictionary Entries Near subtract

Cite this Entry

“Subtract.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


sub·​tract səb-ˈtrakt How to pronounce subtract (audio)
: to take away (as one part or number) from another : deduct
subtract 5 from 9
: to perform a subtraction

More from Merriam-Webster on subtract

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