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

The concept version of the E-Tron had three motors, providing the ability to shift traction at speed with boosts of electric acceleration rather than braking. Bradley Berman, Popular Mechanics, "Audi Officially Unveils Its First EV, the E-Tron," 18 Sep. 2018 This is why frustrated liberals won’t gain any traction by picking at Kavanaugh’s inconsistent statements or pointing to his conservative record. Kay Steiger, Vox, "4 winners and 3 losers from Brett Kavanaugh’s many-hour, multi-day confirmation hearings," 7 Sep. 2018 White supremacists have been actively targeting U.S. college campuses since January 2016, but the practice failed to gain any real traction until the fall semester of that year. Michael Kunzelman, chicagotribune.com, "U.S. colleges see sharp rise in white supremacist propaganda: data," 28 June 2018 Lumaj, whose own bid for governor failed to gain traction at last month’s Republican convention, is one of the most prominent conservatives in the state. Daniela Altimari, courant.com, "Peter Lumaj Backs Bob Stefanowski In Governor's Race," 11 June 2018 Airport employees have been mobilizing for higher pay and collective bargaining, gaining traction at a time when unions have been struggling. Bloomberg.com, "Now Arriving at America’s Airports: Unions," 14 Feb. 2018 Eleanor’s theory of secret benevolence loses traction at the send-off comedy roast held in the public square. Sarah Bichsel, baltimoresun.com, "'The Good Place' recap: Returning with 'A Leap Into Faith'," 6 Jan. 2018 But Trump has gained little traction in his attempts to get Congress to fund the project. Alex Shephard, New Republic, "Donald Trump’s push to build the Wall is getting desperate.," 9 Jan. 2018 The Senate on Monday introduced legislation to overhaul the U.S. retirement system, a sign that efforts to revamp retirement-savings plans are gaining traction. Anne Tergesen, WSJ, "Retirement Overhaul Gains Traction With Senate Bill," 1 Apr. 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.

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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

13 Jun 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

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