sub·​trac·​tion | \ səb-ˈtrak-shən How to pronounce subtraction (audio) \

Definition of subtraction

: an act, operation, or instance of subtracting: such as
a : the withdrawing or withholding of a right to which an individual is entitled
b : the operation of deducting one number from another

Synonyms & Antonyms for subtraction



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Examples of subtraction in a Sentence

The children are learning addition and subtraction. the restaurant may not have raised the price, but there's definitely been a subtraction in the number of fries in a side order
Recent Examples on the Web In his two greatest presidential speeches, Abraham Lincoln embedded references to important dates that can be understood only by solving subtraction problems. Diana Schaub, National Review, 14 Apr. 2022 In her classroom, students worked through problems in subtraction, addition, multiplication, geometry and area and perimeter on individual computers. al, 6 July 2022 Maybe the Lakers are bluffing and plan to move Westbrook regardless of how minimal the return, which would still count as addition by subtraction in my book. Dylan Hernández, Los Angeles Times, 6 June 2022 Pursuing generativity and subtraction will make the second half of life that much better. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, 26 May 2022 His subtraction required a corresponding move to reinforce the lineup on the other side of the 99-day lockout. Alex Speier,, 6 Apr. 2022 The venerable Speedway Motel is no more, but that’s addition by subtraction. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 26 May 2022 Our miniature golf hole could be improved by subtraction. Leidy Klotz, Scientific American, 12 May 2022 In 2018, Kennedy oversaw the addition -- and subtraction -- of two new airlines to Cleveland Hopkins offering nonstop flights to Iceland. Susan Glaser, cleveland, 5 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'subtraction.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of subtraction

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for subtraction

Middle English subtraccion, from Anglo-French sustraction, subtraction, from Late Latin subtraction-, subtractio, from Latin subtrahere

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Time Traveler for subtraction

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The first known use of subtraction was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near subtraction



subtraction sign

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Statistics for subtraction

Last Updated

30 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Subtraction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for subtraction


sub·​trac·​tion | \ səb-ˈtrak-shən How to pronounce subtraction (audio) \

Kids Definition of subtraction

: the act or process of taking one number away from another

More from Merriam-Webster on subtraction

Nglish: Translation of subtraction for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about subtraction


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