Meaning of traction in English:


Pronunciation /ˈtrakʃn/

See synonyms for traction

Translate traction into Spanish


mass noun
  • 1The action of drawing or pulling something over a surface, especially a road or track.

    ‘a primitive vehicle used in animal traction’
    • ‘Loss of animal traction resulted in decreased production intensity, as did loss of labor power through migration, conscription, and death.’
    • ‘Most Romano-British farmsteads were mixed, dependent on animals for manure, traction, dairy products, wool, hides, and meat.’
    • ‘To facilitate animal traction, migrants cut down big trees, cleared bamboo bushes, and uprooted stumps.’
    • ‘Lack of fuel and replacement parts has led to the reintroduction of animal traction for agriculture in a retrenchment to a preindustrial past.’
    • ‘Ploughs are usually drawn along by animal traction (mainly oxen or horses), although people are occasionally used.’
    • ‘Dogs must have improved the yield from hunting, though a variety of other causes of domestication are possible, such as the use of dogs as guards, as a food source, as traction animals.’
    • ‘Ox-wagon rides were provided on a historic wagon pulled by a team of Nguni oxen from the University of Fort Hare's animal traction unit.’
    1. 1.1Motive power provided to draw or pull something, especially on a railway.
      ‘the changeover to diesel and electric traction’
      • ‘Mourning in anticipation, 71 railway enthusiasts took steam's eclipse by diesel and electric traction to be history's greatest betrayal.’
      • ‘Pictures, diagrams, tables and models are used to explain the evolution of engines from steam through diesel to electric traction.’
      • ‘It made little difference whether the rolling stock in question was for high or low-speed operation or whether it was made use of diesel or electric traction.’
      • ‘We must practise energy conservation comprehensively and switch over to electricity-based traction for railways and urban transportation.’
      • ‘Swiss railways played an important role in the development of electric traction.’
      • ‘These charges include electric traction current and station-leasing charges.’
      • ‘Why were valuable time and money spent in attempts to adapt the unadaptable old horse car lines to the new condition of electric traction?’
      • ‘Once this is commissioned, electric traction will be available from Delhi-Chennai-Jolarpet stretch to the State capital.’
      • ‘With electric traction we could bring the time down to 30-35 minutes, which would be reasonable for 46 miles.’
      • ‘The principles of electric traction are simple.’
      • ‘Electric traction was commercially applied first on suburban and metropolitan lines, but was quickly adopted for underground railways.’
      • ‘During his naval service he twice met and worked with Moses Farmer, who had been experimenting with electric traction since 1847.’
      • ‘Great Britain was slow in adopting electric traction.’
      • ‘In most of the country the distinction between electric and other traction would not be important, but in the mid-Atlantic states it was.’
      • ‘With electric traction, it would also be a clean solution to our transport needs - unlike the airlines.’
      • ‘To Cleveland's credit, it did recognise the superiority of electric traction over other systems and electrified rather swiftly once an effective system had been developed.’
      • ‘The demonstration of an electric railway at Berlin by Siemens in 1879 opened the way to a transport revolution based on electric traction.’
      • ‘Electric traction gave rise to increases in flexibility, speed and capacity, and resulted in cheaper fares.’
      • ‘He now focuses on designing traction kites which can pull a board, a craft or a vehicle.’
    2. 1.2Locomotives collectively.
      ‘a pent-up demand for traction and rolling stock’
      • ‘Colin, a retired traction and rolling stock engineer, and his wife aim to complete more than 30,000 miles of their epic odyssey by train.’
      • ‘The interactive museum would have featured all elements of steam technology from steam boats to steam traction and trains.’
      • ‘It's pulled by a diesel engine today but there is a strong movement to reintroduce steam traction.’
  • 2The grip of a tyre on a road or a wheel on a rail.

    ‘his car hit a patch of ice and lost traction’
    • ‘On a simple two-wheel drive car, traction control selects the wheel with the most grip in a loss-of-grip situation and gives it more power.’
    • ‘Also standard are dual-stage driver and front-passenger airbags and traction control.’
    • ‘Alloy wheels, traction control and a cassette player come as standard.’
    • ‘On the safety front there are six air bags, stability and traction control, and ABS braking with brake assists and brake force distribution.’
    • ‘You have no electronic driver aids, no traction control and no antilock brakes.’
    • ‘Tracks also improve traction on hard, slick surfaces and enable the machine to run across open trenches.’
    • ‘They can easily come off the slippery surface, get traction on a dry piece of road, and just fire off into the crowd, or a lamp post, or anything else, at the drop of a hat.’
    • ‘The road had been recently rocked and his tires had little traction on the bumpy surface.’
    • ‘Then, she was to immediately back out and up onto the rim so that she and the engineering team could look at her tracks and check her traction.’
    • ‘I've heard mixed feedback regarding the use of a mild acid wash to roughen up or etch the surface and create more traction.’
    • ‘You won't have the same traction anymore on any surface, and especially not on the linoleum.’
    • ‘The gravel that makes up the concrete is exposed to the surface and good for traction.’
    • ‘The exception is emergency vehicles that disperse sand to give icy roads traction.’
    • ‘They may offer more traction in wintry weather, but can reduce traction of dry roads.’
    • ‘Each intense laser pulse can produce a series of minute explosions that blow the leaf residue off the rails, resulting in a clean track and restoring traction to passing trains.’
    • ‘Slicks have no tread and are used for best traction on a dry track.’
    • ‘This produces low pressure air under the car which sucks it on to the road, increasing traction.’
    • ‘Most drivers travel at the posted limit in dry weather, but need to allow for slippery roads, reduced vision and lower traction in wet weather.’
    • ‘For example, we may produce systems that alter the combustion properties of fuels, the viscosity of lubricants, or the ability of vehicles to gain traction.’
    • ‘To improve traction of vehicles, the roadway face has longitudinal extruded and transverse press - formed depressions.’
    grip, friction, adhesion, purchase, resistance
    View synonyms
  • 3The extent to which an idea, product, etc. gains popularity or acceptance.

    ‘analysts predicted that the technology would rapidly gain traction in the corporate mobile market’
    • ‘if a film got a little traction, a wider release could be negotiated’
    • ‘The advocates of disengagement have yet to gain traction.’
    • ‘Not only are introductions in order, you should also give the fresh acquaintances a little traction to get their friendship rolling merrily along.’
    • ‘His approach has started to gain traction in Europe.’
    • ‘Hopefully, Manfred's attempt to divert attention from illegal anabolic steroids to perfectly safe over-the-counter supplements won't gain traction.’
    • ‘Internet protocol (IP) based storage has gained significant traction over the course of the past year.’
    • ‘The democratic presidential hopeful is losing some traction to his opponent in some key polls.’
    • ‘The group had trouble gaining traction, no matter how outrageous they acted.’
    • ‘Not only are they not gaining traction, they are less effective with each manufactured event.’
    • ‘At first the deal got plenty of criticism, from environmentalists and pro-business conservatives alike, and little traction on Capitol Hill.’
    • ‘His political opponents are trying to gain some traction by this story.’
    • ‘But the former congressman, ambassador and cabinet member couldn't get any traction.’
    • ‘The informal network is where ideas in their infancy can be formulated, adapted and gain traction before presented.’
    • ‘The hypervisor technology also puts a layer between a physical server and server operating systems and has gained traction with the hardware makers.’
    • ‘It's much harder to get traction with editors, let alone readers, to tell that story.’
    • ‘Until we figure out whether the product has traction, there's no rush to execute the revenue plan. "’
    • ‘But he did not get traction last year in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression.’
    • ‘Even if record labels embrace the toolkit and create millions of discs with Microsoft DRM-protected content, there's no guarantee Windows Media formats would gain any traction with consumers.’
    • ‘In the meantime, greater control over the regions has meant the company is seeing a lift in sales in the Northeast and more traction in the West.’
    • ‘Lawsuits that would have had no traction years ago now survive and sometimes result in impressive settlements.’
    • ‘It doesn't seem to be getting much traction among fellow Democrats and Republicans are expected to vote and block a vote on resolutions.’
  • 4Medicine
    The application of a sustained pull on a limb or muscle, especially in order to maintain the position of a fractured bone or to correct a deformity.

    ‘his leg is in traction’
    • ‘Dancers now jump higher, pirouette more times - more than the naked eye can count - and spend hours in traction to stretch their limbs and torsos a centimetre or two more.’
    • ‘The new Hodgen splint held a limb in traction while a wound was dressed, a critical innovation on the battlefield.’
    • ‘The procedure still requires a major surgery to insert the pins and rods to hold the bones in traction.’
    • ‘Serious, permanent complications from this procedure are rare but can be minimized by limiting the amount of time that the patient is in traction.’
    • ‘You just know this one is going to end up with someone going to intensive care in traction.’
    • ‘In the accident and emergency department, the broken leg should be rested in the position of comfort and traction should not be used.’
    • ‘Displaced fractures are reduced by traction with local pressure over the prominent proximal end of the distal metacarpal fracture.’
    • ‘The people who make the decisions are not concerned about the poor patients with fractured legs and hips who are on traction and unable to walk.’
    • ‘Femoral fractures in children have traditionally been treated with traction and hospital stays of 4-12 weeks depending on the child's age.’
    • ‘I remember the hours before surgery, my leg in traction and feeling the shattered pieces shifting in my leg.’
    • ‘When the old man arrived back in Burnaby he had to wait two days, in traction and on morphine, for surgery on his leg.’
    • ‘‘When I wake up at home, I feel like I need to put my back in traction just to get ready to play,’ he says.’
    • ‘For the first time, I noticed my legs were in traction.’
    • ‘Being wise, he knew that I would slip and fall on the ice, that I would break my leg and be laid up in traction for two days.’
    • ‘He had a white sheet over him, and then he pulled on one of his legs, and it was in traction.’


Late Middle English (denoting contraction, such as that of a muscle): from French, or from medieval Latin tractio(n-), from Latin trahere ‘draw, pull’. Current senses date from the early 19th century.