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

At the same time, business investment, which has weakened in the face of President Donald Trump's trade wars, was revised lower and subtracted from growth in the April-June period. CBS News, "U.S. economy slowed slightly in second quarter," 29 Aug. 2019 In two phases, starting in 1944, Belluschi carefully added and subtracted from the plain structures. Janet Eastman,, "Celebrating architect Pietro Belluschi’s 120th anniversary: Building tours, book talk and dinner in his home," 8 Aug. 2019 With people living longer, though, many advisers now suggest subtracting from 110 or 120; that would have a 65-year-old investing 45% or 55% of assets in stocks. Dallas News, "Motley Fool: Is Wall Street wrong about iRobot, stocks for all ages and this week's trivia," 30 June 2019 Imports, which subtract from the calculation of GDP, declined at a 1.9% rate, a slightly smaller decrease than the prior estimate of a 2.5% decline. Paul Kiernan, WSJ, "U.S. Economy Grew at Unrevised 3.1% Rate in First Quarter," 27 June 2019 The takeaway is that social media should enhance your enjoyment of life, and not subtract from it. Eliza Solomon, Teen Vogue, "Why You Should Marie Kondo Your Social Media Feed," 23 Apr. 2019 Force fields have positive zero-point energies while matter fields have negative ones, and these energies add to and subtract from the total energy of the vacuum. Quanta Magazine, "Why the Tiny Weight of Empty Space Is Such a Huge Mystery," 12 Mar. 2018 After subtracting Bergen from the 40-man roster, the Giants have an open spot that could go to Triple-A outfielder Jaylin Davis, who has hit five home runs in the last two games. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Giants cut Rule 5 draft pick, promote Avelino, open up 40-man roster spot," 18 Aug. 2019 Though the Giants may have made their fans feel good and helped themselves every fifth day by holding on to Bumgarner, Farhan Zaidi might have hurt the team by subtracting three arms from the bullpen. Ann Killion,, "Giants’ fate may be determined during this homestand," 5 Aug. 2019

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

7 Oct 2019

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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).


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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