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



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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 An easy way to begin that avoids combing through all of your bills is to take your net income and subtract any regular savings. Expert Panel®, Forbes, "New To Financial Planning? 16 Experts Share Tips To Get You Started," 19 Apr. 2021 But reversible changes are unprecedented among insects, which were previously known to add or subtract, but not both, in a single individual. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, "Want to Be Ant Royalty? Prepare to Lose Part of Your Brain.," 13 Apr. 2021 Some colleges subtract cases from their tallies once people recover. New York Times, "Tracking the Coronavirus at U.S. Colleges and Universities," 11 Dec. 2020 Then weigh the tow vehicle with and without the trailer and subtract those two measurements., "How to get the best towing vehicle for your needs," 2 Apr. 2021 Oregon is one of just six states that allow residents to subtract their federal taxes from their state tax liability. oregonlive, "Oregon lawmakers explore wiping out stimulus tax penalty – but payments could take months," 30 Mar. 2021 Quick cuts, jangly ’80 synth music and an impressive pool-hall tracking shot distinguish the picture, but the familiar tropes of Hong Kong cinema, including predictable fight sequences and a moralizing conclusion, subtract from its appeal. David Mermelstein, WSJ, "Wong Kar Wai’s World Within," 20 Mar. 2021 Be sure to subtract the weight of motor and battery before loading the boat with gear and angler. Field & Stream, "Best Kayak Motor to Fit the Way You Fish," 19 Mar. 2021 But now, using a technique called structured illumination, the EMBL team has managed to subtract out this interference, making light sheet microscopy even more powerful. Veronique Greenwood, Scientific American, "New Microscope Enables Real-Time 3-D Movies of Developing Embryos [Slide Show]," 1 Sep. 2010

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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Time Traveler for subtract

Time Traveler

The first known use of subtract was in 1557

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Statistics for subtract

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Subtract.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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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