traction

noun trac·tion \ ˈtrak-shən \
Updated on: 8 Nov 2017

Definition of traction

1 a :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

tractional

play \-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl\ adjective

Examples of traction in a Sentence

  1. These tires get good traction on wet roads.

  2. A patch of ice caused the car to lose traction.

  3. She was in traction for three weeks after she broke her hip.

  4. The bill failed to gain traction in the Senate.

  5. We didn't get traction on this idea until the board took interest.

Recent Examples of traction from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of traction

Medieval Latin traction-, tractio, from Latin trahere

Other Mechanical Engineering Terms


TRACTION Defined for English Language Learners

traction

noun

Definition of traction for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

traction

noun trac·tion \ ˈtrak-shən \

Definition of traction for Students

: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.

Medical Dictionary

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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