In math, when you subtract, you take one number away from another. If you subtract four from ten, you're left with six. You can also use subtract to mean "take away" in a more general sense, as in "If you subtract some of the salt from the recipe, the pasta will be healthier."

When you're doing math, you know you're supposed to subtract if you see a minus sign. Subtracting gives you the difference between numbers, and you can see this in a real way when you subtract actual objects instead of numbers. If you have a dozen cupcakes and subtract ten of them, you have only two cupcakes left. The Latin root of subtract is subtrahere, "take away or draw off."

Definitions of subtract

v make a subtraction

subtract this amount from my paycheck”
deduct, take off
add, add together
make an addition by combining numbers
add, add together, add up, sum, sum up, summate, tally, tot, tot up, total, tote up
determine the sum of
show more antonyms...
carry back
deduct a loss or an unused credit from taxable income for a prior period
Type of:
calculate, cipher, compute, cypher, figure, reckon, work out
make a mathematical calculation or computation

v take off or away

“this prefix was subtracted when the word was borrowed from French”
Type of:
bring down, cut, cut back, cut down, reduce, trim, trim back, trim down
cut down on; make a reduction in

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