from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The act or process of subtracting; deduction.
  • noun The arithmetic operation of finding the difference between two quantities or numbers.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The act or operation of subtracting, or taking a part from a whole.
  • noun Specifically, in arithmetic and algebra, the taking of one number or quantity from another; the operation of finding the difference between two numbers.
  • noun In law, a withdrawing or neglecting, as when a person who owes any suit, duty, custom, or service to another withdraws it or neglects to perform it.
  • noun Detraction.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The act or operation of subtracting or taking away a part.
  • noun (Math.) The taking of a lesser number or quantity from a greater of the same kind or denomination; an operation for finding the difference between two numbers or quantities.
  • noun (Law) The withdrawing or withholding from a person of some right to which he is entitled by law.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun arithmetic (uncountable) The process of subtracting a number from another.
  • noun arithmetic (countable) A calculation involving subtracting.
  • noun The removal of something.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an arithmetic operation in which the difference between two numbers is calculated
  • noun the act of subtracting (removing a part from the whole)


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • He states that although some Mendelians have spoken of genetic factors as permanent and indestructible, he is satisfied that they may occasionally undergo a quantitative disintegration, the results of which he calls subtraction or reduction stages.

    Hormones and Heredity J. T. Cunningham 1897

  • The most notable subtraction is WR Terrell Owens, who was cut in March.

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  • I think that practice of subtraction is also what makes it difficult to imagine the framing of Wyeth's paintings.

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  • I think that practice of subtraction is also what makes it difficult to imagine the framing of Wyeth's paintings.

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  • The best math we could have from Billary is subtraction from the race, NOW.

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  • You go about bullying little boys, and calling yourself King Pewee, but you can't do a sum in long division, nor in short subtraction, for that matter, and you let fellows like Riley make

    The Hoosier School-boy Edward Eggleston 1869

  • 'Dear Irene and Reggie,' it ran, 'Your dispute as to the number of stomachs which a cow possesses can be settled and rectified by a simple mathematical process usually called subtraction, thus:

    Alfred Russel Wallace Letters and Reminiscences Marchant, James 1916

  • The result of the subtraction will be the amount of gas that has been burned since the last bill was rendered.

    Practical Suggestions for Mother and Housewife Marion Mills Miller 1906

  • Thus if a man's capital be ten and his debts eight, the subtraction will be the same, whether we call the capital negative debt, or the debt negative capital.

    Biographia Literaria Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1803

  • They WANT bipartisanship but what they offer is a "subtraction" from what Obama wants and an "addition" of NOTHING!!!

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