When you change your mind and take back something you said previously, that's a retraction. If a politician says something offensive, he'll sometimes issue a formal retraction later.

When someone needs to withdraw an opinion or backpedal on something they've said (especially publicly), they send out a retraction. A newspaper editor might publish a retraction after a badly reported story is printed, and astronomers who discover a new star might announce a retraction after realizing it was just a smudge on the lens of their telescope. The Latin root is retractionem, "a drawing back."

Definitions of retraction

n a disavowal or taking back of a previous assertion

abjuration, recantation
backdown, climb-down, withdrawal
a retraction of a previously held position
Type of:
disavowal, disclaimer
denial of any connection with or knowledge of

n the act of pulling or holding or drawing a part back

“the retraction of the landing gear”
retraction of the foreskin”
Type of:
motility, motion, move, movement
a change of position that does not entail a change of location

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