Have you ever said something you wish you could retract, or take back? You're not alone. Even newspapers and magazines have sections where the editors can retract something written that was incorrect.
The sense of the word retract meaning to draw back or withdraw comes from the mid-16th century, and its meaning was clear when Napoleon Bonaparte said, "In politics...never retreat, never retract...never admit a mistake." Still, sometimes you wish you could retract something you said or did. Cats can retract their claws, and some snakes can retract their fangs, but words spoken in anger can never be fully retracted, or taken back.