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one of the meanings of "withdraw" from oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com:

to withdraw — [transitive] to stop somebody/something from taking part in an activity or being a member of an organization:
(1) The horse had been withdrawn from the race.

I would like to try to come up with my own examples for this definition:
(2) The sports committee withdrew the athlete from the competition.
(3) The Central Election Commission withdrew one of the candidates from the election.
(4) The mayor withdrew his deputy from office.

Are (2), (3) and (4) correct?
If not, then why not?

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  • You've got a good dictionary definition there, and your usages align with it. Note that proofreading questions ("Is there anything wrong here?") are off-topic here. Can you elaborate on why you suspect that your usages might have problems? Commented Feb 26 at 15:29
  • Also, I strongly recommend that, before asking questions prompted by the learner's dictionary, that you look up the same word in more advanced dictionaries Commented Feb 26 at 15:30
  • @AndyBonner i) I'm asking this because I just couldn't find any examples similar to mine in dictionaries. ii) What is your strong recommendation based on? Did you find something on the link you gave that could help to answer the original question? If you did, what specifically did you find? If not, then sorry but there is no sense in this link.
    – Loviii
    Commented Feb 26 at 15:59
  • I'm just saying, learners' dictionaries are good for giving very clear, intuitive explanations, but sometimes if one wants a more rigorous definition they should try a different one. It seems like you've asked several questions lately trying to pin down the more exact range of usages; when trying to do that I'd suggest always consulting several different dictionaries. Commented Feb 26 at 16:19

1 Answer 1

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withdraw involves self-directed action so the definition you cited is unclear and misleading.

(1) The horse had been withdrawn from the race.

That is fine as long as the owner or trainer of the horse made the decision. The racing commission does not withdraw a horse. They insist that the horse be withdrawn.

(2) The sports committee withdrew the athlete from the competition.

No. The committee insisted that the athlete withdraw from the race. The athlete withdraws from the race, or the school or country the athlete represents withdraws the athlete from the race, or the athlete's coach, or the parents of the athlete if the athlete is a child. A governing body does not withdraw the athlete from the race.

(3) The Central Election Commission withdrew one of the candidates from the election.

Same objection as above. The candidate withdraws or the party they represent insists that their candidate withdraw, or possibly withdraws them (a fine line there, involving legalities), but the commission can only insist and possibly file a law suit if they meet with resistance.

(4) The mayor withdrew his deputy from office.

Same objection as with #3.

3 and 4 are complicated by legalities.

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  • Hm, I agree that "withdraw" always involves agency, but all of the proposed usages involve one entity having authority over another. I agree that "the boxer withdrew his opponent from the ring" doesn't work, but IMO these examples of governing bodies exercising their power over participants are valid. Commented Feb 26 at 15:32
  • Can a stronger army withdraw their opponent from the battlefield? No. They can force them to withdraw. Same is true of a governing body.
    – TimR
    Commented Feb 27 at 0:17

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