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

Definition of subtract

transitive verb

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

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Other Words from subtract

subtracter noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for subtract


abate, deduct, knock off, take off


add, tack (on)

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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

The Republic adjusts this by subtracting the value of current-year options and stock awards that haven't yet been cashed in or vested. Russ Wiles, azcentral, "Pay for Arizona CEOs hit a new record in 2018 — see who made the most," 27 June 2019 Reservations require a $50 per person deposit, which is subtracted from their balance due on the day of their jump. Houston Chronicle, "Get the thrills with sky-high experiences," 14 June 2019 And now, another station will be subtracted from the syndication total. Philip Potempa, Post-Tribune, "After nearly two decades, region radio dropping Bob & Tom Show," 12 June 2019 On a graph, subtracting the values of connected points is the appropriate analog of taking a derivative, which is, after all, the difference of two values infinitely close together. Quanta Magazine, "The Tricky Translation of Mathematical Ideas," 28 June 2017 Revisions subtracted 75,000 jobs from the prior two months, bringing the three-month average to 151,000., "Job and wage growth slows as trade war weighs on economy," 7 June 2019 Ships add and subtract ports often, such as when a hurricane is hurtling toward the region or an island is recovering from a natural disaster. Andrea Sachs, Washington Post, "What the new Cuba travel restrictions mean for tourists," 6 June 2019 Round numbers are handy—they’re easy to add, subtract and remember. Louise Lee, WSJ, "Round Numbers Can Hurt Crowdfunding Campaigns," 28 Apr. 2019 The usual way to calculate the social returns of higher education is to sum up all the graduate premiums and subtract any public subsidies. The Economist, "All must have degreesGoing to university is more important than ever for young people," 3 Feb. 2018

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

1557, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for subtract

Latin subtractus, past participle of subtrahere to draw from beneath, withdraw, from sub- + trahere to draw

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Statistics for subtract

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for subtract

The first known use of subtract was in 1557

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More Definitions for subtract



English Language Learners Definition of subtract

: to take (a number or amount) from another number or amount


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

Kids Definition of subtract

: to take away (as one part or number from another) : deduct

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More from Merriam-Webster on subtract

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with subtract

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for subtract

Spanish Central: Translation of subtract

Nglish: Translation of subtract for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of subtract for Arabic Speakers

Comments on subtract

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


something desired as essential

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