Etymology
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retraction (n.)

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.

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Definitions of retraction

retraction (n.)
a disavowal or taking back of a previous assertion;
Synonyms: abjuration / recantation
retraction (n.)
the act of pulling or holding or drawing a part back;
retraction of the foreskin
the retraction of the landing gear
From wordnet.princeton.edu