Definition of protract in English:



  • 1Prolong.

    ‘he had certainly taken his time, even protracting the process’
    • ‘To deprive a successful litigant of interest on his or her legal costs is to encourage the losing side to delay and protract the assessment process.’
    • ‘The ‘winner-take-all electoral vote’ practice can avoid prolonged county by county vote count, which will inevitably protract the delivery of a new president.’
    • ‘Men and women are encouraged to protract their sexually active lives, regardless of desire.’
    • ‘I could have just said that there were lots of other options for GPs these days, but that would have simply protracted the conversation.’
    • ‘There are examples of opponents who achieved equally dramatic successes by protracting or slowing the operational tempo.’
    • ‘He still protracts the i in time, but his pronunciation seems deliberately disharmonic.’
    • ‘We've been in such a hurry for all these years for one main reason - the more the negotiations are protracted, the more difficult they become, which can be easily noticed.’
    • ‘In other words, a prudent, asymmetric-thinking enemy manipulates time and space to disperse the greater power's military forces, protracting the conflict and wearing down the will of the orthodox opponent.’
    • ‘That's why many antispammers squarely blame the trade group for protracting the junk-email war.’
    • ‘His strategy was to protract negotiations until the enemy were exhausted, while assembling the forces necessary to crush them.’
    • ‘And for the Chinese, the longer this protracts, the more difficult it becomes to keep it out of the international incident stage and handle it well.’
    lengthen, make longer, extend, extend the duration of, draw out, drag out, spin out, stretch out, string out, elongate
    View synonyms
  • 2Draw (a plan, etc.) to scale.


Mid 16th century: from Latin protract- ‘prolonged’, from the verb protrahere, from pro- ‘out’ + trahere ‘to draw’.