traction

noun
trac·​tion | \ˈtrak-shən \

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 , -​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

Plenty of food marketers have tried to sell better-for-you candy before and failed to gain traction. Anne Marie Chaker, WSJ, "Hey Kids, Enjoy This Candy Made With Yummy Quinoa," 29 Oct. 2018 On the right, the traditional powerhouse of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party never gained traction. Peter Prengaman, The Seattle Times, "A rise from marginal lawmaker to presidential front-runner," 27 Oct. 2018 All of this means the vilifying of Soros among conservatives has gained traction, despite being proven false time and time again. Jameelah Nasheed, Teen Vogue, "After Years of George Soros Conspiracy Theories, Someone Targeted His Home with an Explosive Device," 23 Oct. 2018 Breakup rumors gained traction late this morning after gossip sites started reporting on the split. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Diddy and Cassie Have Reportedly Broken Up and We're Not Okay," 17 Oct. 2018 Many of the fake profiles had followers and likes in excess of 6,500, an indication the scam has been gaining traction. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Already facing an uphill misinformation fight, Facebook loses to scammers, too," 16 Oct. 2018 While many of these companies have gained traction, venture capital is still flowing into the space, suggesting REX will continue to face competition from new and existing players. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "This algorithm can find a buyer for your house," 12 July 2018 As part of its turnaround efforts, Groupon is refocusing on key markets and introducing new services that are gaining traction with consumers. Sarah Mcbride And Olga Kharif, chicagotribune.com, "Groupon surges in premarket move on report it's seeking a buyer," 9 July 2018 Mid-year sales figures for the video game industry show which spring releases have connected with audiences, as well as which hot holiday sellers have traction with players. Chris Morris, Fortune, "These Are 2018's Best-Selling Video Games — So Far," 6 July 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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Statistics for traction

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

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 \

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 \

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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Comments on traction

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