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Borrowed from Latin extractum, neuter perfect passive participle of extrahō.


  • (noun): enPR: ĕks'trăkt, IPA(key): /ˈɛkstɹækt/
  • (verb): enPR: ĭkstrăkt', IPA(key): /ɪksˈtɹækt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ækt


extract (plural extracts)

  1. Something that is extracted or drawn out.
  2. A portion of a book or document, incorporated distinctly in another work; a citation; a quotation.
    I used an extract of Hemingway's book to demonstrate culture shock.
  3. A decoction, solution, or infusion made by drawing out from any substance that which gives it its essential and characteristic virtue
    extract of beef
    extract of dandelion
  4. Any substance extracted is such a way, and characteristic of that from which it is obtained
    quinine is the most important extract of Peruvian bark.
  5. A solid preparation obtained by evaporating a solution of a drug, etc., or the fresh juice of a plant (distinguished from an abstract).
  6. (obsolete) A peculiar principle (fundamental essence) once erroneously supposed to form the basis of all vegetable extracts.
  7. Ancestry; descent.
  8. A draft or copy of writing; a certified copy of the proceedings in an action and the judgment therein, with an order for execution.


Derived termsEdit


See alsoEdit


extract (third-person singular simple present extracts, present participle extracting, simple past extracted, past participle extracted or (archaic) extraught)

  1. (transitive) To draw out; to pull out; to remove forcibly from a fixed position, as by traction or suction, etc.
    to extract a tooth from its socket, a stump from the earth, or a splinter from the finger
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
      The bee / Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet.
    • 2013 August 3, “Yesterday’s fuel”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8847:
      The dawn of the oil age was fairly recent. Although the stuff was used to waterproof boats in the Middle East 6,000 years ago, extracting it in earnest began only in 1859 after an oil strike in Pennsylvania. The first barrels of crude fetched $18 (around $450 at today’s prices).
  2. (transitive) To withdraw by expression, distillation, or other mechanical or chemical process. Compare abstract (transitive verb).
    to extract an essential oil from a plant
    • 2013 June 29, “A punch in the gut”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 72-3:
      Mostly, the microbiome is beneficial. It helps with digestion and enables people to extract a lot more calories from their food than would otherwise be possible. Research over the past few years, however, has implicated it in diseases from atherosclerosis to asthma to autism.
  3. (transitive) To take by selection; to choose out; to cite or quote, as a passage from a book.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Jonathan Swift
      I have extracted out of that pamphlet a few notorious falsehoods.
  4. (transitive) To select parts of a whole
    We need to try to extract the positives from the defeat.
  5. (transitive, arithmetic) To determine (a root of a number).
    Please extract the cube root of 27.



Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for extract in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)