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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for subtraction




accession, addition

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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

Then, each goes through a process of digital enhancement — the subtraction of eyes and ears, the addition of clip-art slogans and logos, maybe a vintage banner in the background or a vase of flowers in the foreground. Ray Mark Rinaldi, The Know, "At Leon Gallery, the allure and danger of our Instagram lives," 4 Aug. 2019 Zaidi ended the day by keeping three of his four top arms, but the subtraction of Dyson in a trade with the Minnesota Twins led Bochy to shuffle the deck late in Wednesday’s victory. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Giants blast three home runs, Samardzija stays hot to close out dominant July," 31 July 2019 An uncatchable ball resulted in a subtraction of three points. Andy Staples,, "An inside look at George Whitfield's spring break QB camp," 18 Mar. 2014 The mathematics involved—everything from addition to subtraction to even multiplication—limited participation in such leagues to an assortment of nerds, eggheads and other poindexters willing to handle such advanced calculations. Gary Gramling,, "Hold Your Fantasy Playoffs During the NFL Playoffs, You Cowards," 5 July 2019 This is a direct addition for Indiana, who have designs on contending in the East at full strength, and a subtraction for Milwaukee, their primary divisional threat. Akeem Glaspie, Indianapolis Star, "Some question, most love Pacers' signings of Brogdan, Lamb," 1 July 2019 The algorithm requires only addition, subtraction and memory. Quanta Magazine, "A Life in Games," 28 Aug. 2015 Among the three newcomers who lost weight, DJ Dale’s subtraction of 15 pounds to 308 is the most significant. Michael Casagrande |,, "Two Alabama freshmen added 31 pounds since signing, other significant weight changes," 20 June 2019 But a league source said that the Celtics will not make any moves that are based on the additions or subtractions of other teams in the conference. Adam Himmelsbach,, "From Kemba Walker to Kyrie Irving to Terry Rozier, here’s the latest on the Celtics," 27 June 2019

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.

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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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Statistics for subtraction

Last Updated

13 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for subtraction

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

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More Definitions for subtraction



English Language Learners Definition of subtraction

mathematics : the act or process of subtracting one number from another


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

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Comments on subtraction

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


to spread over or through

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