with·​draw·​al | \wit͟h-ˈdrȯ(-ə)l, with-\

Definition of withdrawal 

1a : the act of taking back or away something that has been granted or possessed

b : removal from a place of deposit or investment

c(1) : the discontinuance of administration or use of a drug

(2) : the syndrome of often painful physical and psychological symptoms that follows discontinuance of an addicting drug a heroin addict going through withdrawal

2a : retreat or retirement especially into a more secluded or less exposed place or position

b : an operation by which a military force disengages from the enemy

c(1) : social or emotional detachment

(2) : a pathological retreat from objective reality (as in some schizophrenic states)

3 : retraction, revocation threatened us with withdrawal of consent

4a : the act of drawing someone or something back from or out of a place or position

b : coitus interruptus

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Synonyms & Antonyms for withdrawal


pullback, pullout, recession, retirement, retreat


advance, advancement

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Examples of withdrawal in a Sentence

The general authorized the withdrawal of troops from the fields. She made a withdrawal from her checking account. He underwent rehab to help him through his withdrawal from heroin. She experienced symptoms of nicotine withdrawal after she quit smoking.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Russia has called for Iranian troop withdrawal from a post-war Syria but cannot guarantee Iranian compliance. Washington Post, "Analysis: Iran role in Syria key item at Trump-Putin summit," 13 July 2018 At any rate, the withdrawal deal must be signed by the end of the year to give time for Parliament to approve it, for EU national leaders to ratify it, and for the European parliament to give its assent by March 29, 2019. Peter Ford, The Christian Science Monitor, "As clock ticks down, Britain finally reveals its plan for Brexit. What now?," 11 July 2018 In addition to the trade threats, an Ecuadorean government official told the Times the U.S. threatened to withdrawal military support from northern Ecuador, where violence from boarding Colombia causes ongoing issues. Renae Reints, Fortune, "U.S. Delegates Opposed an International Resolution That Supported Breastfeeding," 8 July 2018 If not, there are two newly available medications that can make withdrawal from opioids less grueling. Houston Chronicle, "How to “live long and prosper”," 7 July 2018 If there have been no additional contributions or withdrawals, the cost basis is generally the amount used to purchase the contract. OrlandoSentinel.com, "Widow considers changing tax withholding in second year filing single," 12 July 2018 There is anecdotal information about people using marijuana to wean themselves from opioids, ease the misery of withdrawal, or limit their opioid use. Rita Giordano, Philly.com, "Could marijuana help treat opioid addiction? Pennsylvania may soon find out," 6 July 2018 That deal also allows for short-notice inspections; the IAEA says that at least until America’s withdrawal, the Iranians were co-operating quite well. The Economist, "North Korea presents nuclear disarmament’s biggest challenge yet," 5 July 2018 Akin to an addiction to heroin or alcohol, the proposed diagnostic criteria roughly tracked those for substance abuse, such as withdrawal, tolerance, a desire to stop, and negative impact on life activities. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Why Is There a ‘Gaming Disorder’ But No ‘Smartphone Disorder?’," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'withdrawal.' 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 withdrawal

1749, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for withdrawal

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for withdrawal

The first known use of withdrawal was in 1749

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More Definitions for withdrawal



English Language Learners Definition of withdrawal

: an act of moving something away or taking something away

: an act of ending your involvement in something

: the act of taking money out of a bank account


with·​draw·​al | \wit͟h-ˈdrȯ-əl, with-\

Kids Definition of withdrawal

: an act or instance of withdrawing


with·​draw·​al | \-ˈdrȯ(ə-)l \

Medical Definition of withdrawal 

1a : a pathological retreat from objective reality (as in some schizophrenic states)

b : social or emotional detachment

2a : the discontinuance of administration or use of a drug

b : the syndrome of often painful physical and psychological symptoms that follows discontinuance of an addicting substance a heroin addict going through withdrawal

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Legal Definition of withdrawal 

1 : the act or fact of withdrawing withdrawal from a conspiracy

2 : removal of money from a place of deposit or investment

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Comments on withdrawal

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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