drag, pull

Quick Summary

The Latin root word tract means “drag” or “pull.” This root word gives rise to many English vocabulary words, including attraction, subtract, and contract. Perhaps the easiest way to remember this root word is through the English word tractor, for a tractor’s main function is to “drag” or “pull” heavy equipment.

Plowing the Roots Field with "Tract"or

The Latin root word tract means “drag” or “pull.”

A tractor, for instance, “drags” or “pulls” heavy equipment, that is, it is a “dragger” of plows, combines, hay balers and the like. Smoothly working tractors are attractive farm implements; farmers are “dragged” or “pulled” to tractors since they so depend on them to get their heavy work done. A malfunctioning tractor detracts or “drags” from successful farm work being completed. No farmer wants a tractor that doesn’t work!

When you subtract 3 from 5, you “drag” 3 away from 5, leaving but 2. Perhaps you learned how to subtract while in elementary school, unless of course you were highly distracted by other students, or “pulled” away by them.

No one likes to have a tooth forcibly extracted, or “pulled” out by a dentist. In fact, there may have been a fair number of times when your parents found you to be intractable, or unable to be “dragged” to the dentist—in other words, you were being stubborn! They probably wished you would have been more tractable, that is, able to be “pulled” or managed more easily.

Let’s continue on with the root word tract: “pull” or “drag.” Have you ever signed a contract? A contract is simply an agreement “pulled” together in a legal fashion. A contract is meant to keep the signers from retracting or “pulling” back on what they promised to do. And a contract often can prevent a protracted or “dragged” out legal battle that consumes a great deal of time.

Do your running shoes have good traction, that is, are you able to “drag” them along the ground when you want to stop, or are you slipping and sliding everywhere? If the latter is the case, you might become distraught or emotionally “pulled” apart at the seams … time for a new pair! Note that traught is simply a variant of tract.

I hope that you feel you’ve gained some traction by learning that tract means “drag” or “pull.” Now you will be able to easily extract meaning from English vocabulary words containing the root word tract!

  1. tractor: machine which ‘drags’
  2. attractive: that which ‘pulls’ you
  3. detract: ‘drag’ from
  4. subtract: ‘drag’ away from
  5. distract: ‘pull’ away
  6. extract: ‘pull’ out
  7. intractable: not able to be ‘dragged’
  8. tractable: able to be ‘pulled’
  9. contract: agreements ‘pulled’ legally together
  10. retract: ‘pull’ back
  11. protracted: ‘dragged’ forth in time
  12. traction: quotient of ‘draggability’
  13. distraught: ‘pulled’ apart emotionally


  • intractable

    Intractable problems, situations, or people are very difficult or impossible to deal with.

  • protracted

    Something protracted is lengthened in its duration.

  • abstract

    When an idea is abstract, it is not based on a sensed material object but is rather based on a mental concept or is purely theoretical.

  • distraught

    If you are distraught about a situation, you are very upset or worried about it.

  • contract

    When a substance contracts, it becomes smaller or shrinks in size.

  • attractive

    If someone or something is attractive, they or it is good-looking, interesting, and/or pleasing in appearance.

  • distract

    When you distract someone, you pull that person's attention or focus away from something towards something else.

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