sub·​tract | \səb-ˈtrakt \
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

Early Saturday, the state tally fluctuated when officials initially counted, then subtracted, two deaths now thought to have been the result of a murder-suicide during the storm. Barnini Chakraborty, Fox News, "Florence weakens to tropical depression, but flooding threat remains severe," 16 Sep. 2018 Then subtract your essential payments, such as rent, utilities, and gas. Sunset, "4 Essential Tips for Creating a Personal Budget," 22 Jan. 2018 To calculate adjusted gross income, certain deductions are subtracted from an individual’s gross income. Matt Rocheleau,, "These Mass. communities had the most at stake in the ‘millionaires tax’ case," 18 June 2018 Next year, in fact, the tax effect is expected to subtract from earnings growth when this year’s windfalls are baked into financial statements. Jeff Sommer, New York Times, "Profits Are Soaring. The Stock Market Has Barely Noticed.," 11 May 2018 The effects of trade-policy uncertainty and the tariffs that have been implemented so far are expected to subtract about 0.67% from the level of gross domestic product by the end of 2020, the central bank said. Kim Mackrael, WSJ, "Bank of Canada Raises Key Interest Rate to 1.50%," 11 July 2018 And the cashier had trouble figuring out how to subtract the tare weight. Victoria Adams Fogg, Washington Post, "I tried reducing my trash. You can, too. Start by examining it.," 7 July 2018 So a really straightforward example is the AlterG treadmill that can be programmed to subtract weight from your body. Angela Chen, The Verge, "Jeff Bercovici’s Play On investigates the factors that keep athletes performing," 15 June 2018 Under the Supreme Court’s pronouncement, a company that binds all its workers to submit to mandatory arbitration may one day decide to quietly and intentionally subtract $1 from each employees paycheck every week, just because. Cristian Farias, Daily Intelligencer, "The Supreme Court Has Decided to Shut Workers Out of the Courthouse for Good," 21 May 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

18 Nov 2018

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 \
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).


a nest or breeding place

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