traction

noun
trac·​tion | \ ˈtrak-shən How to pronounce traction (audio) \

Definition of traction

1a : the adhesive friction of a body on a surface on which it moves the traction of a wheel on a rail
b : a pulling force exerted on a skeletal structure (as in a fracture) by means of a special device a traction splint also : a state of tension created by such a pulling force a leg in traction
2 : the act of drawing : the state of being drawn also : the force exerted in drawing
3 : the support or interest that is needed for something to make progress or succeed a product that is starting to gain traction among consumers … the litmus test issues of abortion and gay marriage have been losing traction, subordinated to the Iraq war and terrorism.— Thomas B. Edsall As many economists have noted, cutting spending is the worst thing people with means can do for the economy right now. But that argument seems to have little traction, especially because even those with steady paychecks and no fear of losing their job have seen their net worth decline and their retirement savings evaporate.— Shaila Dewan
4 : the drawing of a vehicle by motive power also : the motive power employed

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Other Words from traction

tractional \ ˈtrak-​shnəl How to pronounce traction (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Did you know?

A tractor is something that pulls something else. We usually use the word for a piece of farm machinery, but it's also the name of the part of a big truck that includes the engine and the cab. Tractors get terrific traction, because of their powerful engines and the deep ridges on their huge wheels. A cross-country skier needs traction to kick herself forward, but doesn't want it to slow her down when she's gliding, so the bottom of the skis may have a "fish-scale" surface that permits both of these at the same time.

Examples of traction in a Sentence

These tires get good traction on wet roads. A patch of ice caused the car to lose traction. She was in traction for three weeks after she broke her hip. The bill failed to gain traction in the Senate. We didn't get traction on this idea until the board took interest.
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Recent Examples on the Web Scott Yenor never pauses to wonder whether endless-combat mode — wielding truth as a weapon against one’s civic and intellectual opponents — could actually gain traction anywhere but in already-conservative classrooms, schools, and districts. Paul O. Carrese, National Review, 9 June 2021 The bill, however, failed to gain traction in the Senate where just a handful of Republicans joined with Democrats to back it. Manu Raju, CNN, 8 June 2021 If Trump’s blog can’t gain traction without direct access to the audience aggregation and amplification tools of social media, then perhaps nothing can. Philip M. Napoli, Wired, 5 June 2021 In Europe, where the vaccine rollout has struggled to gain traction until only recently, gains were in many cases far more subdued. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 3 June 2021 Unionization efforts in the US have been slow to gain traction. Michelle Cheng, Quartz, 2 June 2021 The George Floyd Act did not gain traction in either chamber, but Democratic lawmakers opted to break the sweeping police reform bill into smaller pieces that did advance. Dallas News, 31 May 2021 As the vaccination campaigns around the world gain traction and companies start thinking about a post-pandemic future, the possibility of returning to the office looms. Enrique Dans, Forbes, 30 May 2021 In the 1990s, the idea that dog development could mirror a toddler’s began to gain traction, but the research into canine communication remains very rudimentary. BostonGlobe.com, 30 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'traction.' 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 traction

1608, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for traction

Medieval Latin traction-, tractio, from Latin trahere

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Learn More About traction

Time Traveler for traction

Time Traveler

The first known use of traction was in 1608

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Statistics for traction

Last Updated

13 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Traction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/traction. Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for traction

traction

noun

English Language Learners Definition of traction

: the force that causes a moving thing to stick against the surface it is moving along
: the power that is used to pull something
medical : a way of treating broken bones in which a device gently pulls the bones back into place

traction

noun
trac·​tion | \ ˈtrak-shən How to pronounce traction (audio) \

Kids Definition of traction

: the force that causes a moving thing to slow down or to stick against the surface it is moving along The wheels get more traction when the road is dry.

traction

noun
trac·​tion | \ ˈtrak-shən How to pronounce traction (audio) \

Medical Definition of traction

1 : the pulling of or tension established in one body part by another
2 : a pulling force exerted on a skeletal structure (as in a fracture) by means of a special device or apparatus a traction splint also : a state of tension created by such a pulling force a leg in traction

More from Merriam-Webster on traction

Nglish: Translation of traction for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of traction for Arabic Speakers

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