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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

And a new violence reduction plan that has been used in other cities, Cure Violence, is gaining traction. Melina Delkic, New York Times, "‘It’s Not the Same’: Why War Refugees Who Helped Revive St. Louis Are Leaving," 18 Aug. 2019 Plastic straw bans have made their way into both local and national stages with a movement that gained traction last year. Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY, "Plastic straws are trash. Are there alternatives that don't suck?," 16 Aug. 2019 Recently, its fashion lines have begun to gain traction as the company taps social media influencers to promote them. Clare Duffy, CNN, "How Jeff Bezos changed the world," 16 Aug. 2019 Presidential hopeful Hickenlooper was unable to gain traction. Doug Friednash, The Denver Post, "Friednash: Run for Senate, Hick," 16 Aug. 2019 Few posts gained traction, but one anti-immigrant story penetrated the German far right and continues to circulate online. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Amazon’s Twitter ambassadors are blurring the line between fact and fiction," 16 Aug. 2019 The commercial first gained traction when Takesabroso it to Facebook on Aug. 2. Rachel E. Greenspan, Time, "Mexican Restaurant Makes Excellent Use of Avengers Footage for Delightful Commercial," 14 Aug. 2019 Similarly, 8chan gained traction as a haven for those who had been censored on 4chan, which had previously served as a refuge for those who had been banned by SomethingAwful, a rather dark site to begin with. Elaine Ou, Twin Cities, "Elaine Ou: Tech companies want out of the censorship business," 14 Aug. 2019 And there’s one polarizing theory that is starting to gain traction. Megan Stein, Country Living, "There’s a Wild ‘NCIS’ Theory Going Around that Ziva Is Going to Replace Gibbs," 13 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about traction

Statistics for traction

Last Updated

22 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for traction

The first known use of traction was in 1608

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up traction? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a haphazard or makeshift solution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!