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 tractional (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

These voices gain considerable traction on social media. The Conversation, "Confused about what to eat? Science can help," 5 July 2019 Currently, Chapman’s efforts to curtail provincial power hasn’t gained traction in the state Congress. Luke Winkie, Vox, "Anime brings in more than $19 billion a year. Its artists are earning barely enough to survive.," 2 July 2019 The walkout gained traction on Twitter, where a @wayfairwalkout account created Tuesday had nearly 22,000 followers by midday Wednesday. Abha Bhattarai, Washington Post, "‘A cage is not a home’: Hundreds of Wayfair employees walk out to protest sales to migrant detention center," 26 June 2019 Their proposals, however, have gained no traction on Capitol Hill. oregonlive.com, "Saudi students escaping US justice: Oregon’s Ron Wyden slams Trump administration on Senate floor," 25 June 2019 Jason Bentley promoted Organic on his KCRW and KROQ shows, and the event got traction on SoCal Raves, an early Internet forum focused on rave culture. Simon Rust Lamb, Billboard, "How Organic Made History As Southern California's First Legitimate Dance Fest," 20 June 2019 The woman, who is identified as Sky, captured the exchange on Instagram Live before the clip found traction on other social media platforms. Joshua Bote, USA TODAY, "California police criticized for viral video allegedly using excessive force on black man," 10 June 2019 Such a candidacy is likely to be viewed as a long shot in deeply conservative Kentucky, where Republicans are gaining traction on Democrats among registered voters. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, "Gov. Attica Scott? Louisville Democrat 'seriously considering' 2019 run," 5 July 2018 Nonetheless, those assertions from the president and his legal team gained little traction on Capitol Hill. Seung Min Kim, chicagotribune.com, "Senate Republicans warn Trump not to pardon himself," 5 June 2018

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

Statistics for traction

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for traction

The first known use of traction was in 1608

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on traction

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with traction

Spanish Central: Translation of traction

Nglish: Translation of traction for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of traction for Arabic Speakers

Comments on traction

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