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

The app quickly amassed millions of users but never gained enough traction to compete with social-media giants such as Facebook Inc. Mr. Livingston devised kin as a way to monetize the Kik platform. Dave Michaels, WSJ, "Are ICO Tokens Securities? Startup Wants a Judge to Decide," 27 Jan. 2019 His plea Tuesday for stronger bonds among peoples came as nationalism and a suspicion of migrants are gaining traction across much of the globe. Frances D'emilio, The Seattle Times, "Pope’s Christmas wish: World fraternity despite differences," 26 Dec. 2018 The streets in Santorini are often cobblestone, so pack sneakers with traction and flat sandals. Kerry Pieri, Harper's BAZAAR, "Where to Go, Where to Eat, and What to See at Instagram's Favorite Destination," 21 Dec. 2018 New models began offering anti-lock brakes, traction control, and selectable power-limiting modes. Matthew Jancer, Popular Mechanics, "Motorcycle Makers Are Bailing Out of Building Supersport Bikes. Not Kawasaki.," 12 Dec. 2018 Previous SlideNext Slide There is a clever new traction control system—coming next to all future Audis—which constantly determines slip at each of the four wheels at 10kHz, pulling information from the car's various assortment of sensors. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "We’ve driven Audi’s first proper electric car, the 2019 e-tron SUV," 7 Dec. 2018 Democrats had tried to portray Kavanaugh as a partisan warrior from the moment he was nominated, but failed to gain much traction with it. Lisa Mascaro, The Seattle Times, "Kavanaugh’s ‘revenge’ theory spotlights past with Clintons," 2 Oct. 2018 But that Facebook-like social networking element has made Nextdoor one of the tech industry’s more promising companies, especially at a time when few consumer startups are gaining much traction. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "The CEO of Nextdoor, Nirav Tolia, will step down," 25 July 2018 Of course, the economics could get much better as the service gets more traction. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "This city has a vision for mass transit that doesn’t involve city buses," 31 Aug. 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

7 Feb 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 \

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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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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