late 14c., retraccioun, "withdrawal of an opinion," from Latin retractionem (nominative retractio) "a drawing back, hesitation, refusal," noun of action from past-participle stem of retractare "revoke, cancel," from re- "back" (see re-) + tractere "draw violently," frequentative of trahere "to draw" (see tract (n.1)).
Originally the English title of a book by St. Augustine ("Retraciones") correcting his former writings. General sense of "a withdrawal or drawing back" is from early 15c. The meaning "recantation of opinion with admission of error" is from 1540s.
"without preparation," 1910; narrower sense of "withdrawal from an addictive substance" (originally heroin) first recorded 1921. Cold turkey is a food that requires little preparation, so "to quit like cold turkey" is to do so suddenly and without preparation. Compare cold shoulder. To do something cold "without preparation" is attested from 1896.
"act of forsaking or abandoning," 1590s, from French désertion (early 15c.), from Late Latin desertionem (nominative desertio) "a forsaking, abandoning," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin deserere "to abandon, to leave, forsake, give up, leave in the lurch," from de "undo" (see de-) + serere "join together, put in a row" (from PIE root *ser- (2) "to line up"). In law, "willful withdrawal of one of the married parties from the other without cause or justification." Earlier in astrology, "forsaking or withdrawal of a favorable influence" (mid-15c.).
c. 1400, "withdrawal, removal," from Late Latin subtractionem (nominative subtractio) "a drawing back, taking away," from past participle stem of Latin subtrahere "take away, draw off, draw from below," from sub "from under" (see sub-) + trahere "to pull, draw" (see tract (n.1)). The mathematical sense is attested from early 15c.
Þou most know þat subtraccion is drawynge of one nowmber oute of anoþer nomber. ["The Crafte of Nombrynge," c. 1425]