a shortened form of a word or group of words, with the omitted letters often replaced in written English by an apostrophe, as e'er for ever, isn't for is not, I'd for I would.
the thickening and shortening of a muscle: Myosin is a protein in muscles, working together with actin to produce muscle contraction.
one in an often rhythmic series of such muscular changes, especially in the wall of the uterus during labor: When I got to the hospital, my labor was in full force with only 10 seconds between contractions.
a restriction or withdrawal, as of currency or of funds available as call money.
a decrease in economic and industrial activity (opposed to expansion): The contraction that became the Great Depression began in the United States and spread around the globe.
- con·trac·tion·al, adjective
- non·con·trac·tion, noun
- o·ver·con·trac·tion, noun
- re·con·trac·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use contraction in a sentence
The economy’s deep contraction was heavily driven by services.A country that escaped a recession in 2008 is officially in one now | Claire Zillman, reporter | September 2, 2020 | Fortune
When it comes to visualizing expansion and contraction, people often focus on a balloonlike universe whose change in size is described by a “scale factor.”
In the cyclic universe, however, the smoothing happens during a period of contraction.
The varying rates of contraction will be most extreme in countries like Thailand, Japan and Spain along with 20 others, where declines could see their populations halved by 2100, a new Lancet report on fertility and population growth scenarios shows.Africa’s population will triple by the end of the century even as the rest of the world shrinks | Yomi Kazeem | July 16, 2020 | Quartz
The expected population contraction will be due to dropping fertility rates with death rates being either at par with or faster than birth rates in several countries.Africa’s population will triple by the end of the century even as the rest of the world shrinks | Yomi Kazeem | July 16, 2020 | Quartz
Side effects may include recession, job contraction, 401(k) bruising, recurrent Dow fluctuation, and IRA bleeding.Up to a Point: PJ O’Rourke on Sochi and Senate Slackers | P. J. O’Rourke | February 7, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
“AOL had a history of turmoil—rapid expansion and then rapid contraction,” Bewkes says.
That would place the country in recession, typically defined as two consecutive quarters of economic contraction...
The resulting credit contraction would be terrible news for the Italian economy.
Darwin considered that this protective contraction “was a fundamental element in several of our most important expressions.”
In fact, incredibly faster, after his once-a-century contraction of short years before.Old Friends Are the Best | Jack Sharkey
I take iowell (with a bar through the ll) to be the usual (Northern) contraction for Iowellis, jewels; F. text, joiau, pl.Chaucer's Works, Volume 1 (of 7) -- Romaunt of the Rose; Minor Poems | Geoffrey Chaucer
The nick-name of Gigonnet was applied to Bidault on account of a feverish, involuntary contraction of a leg muscle.Repertory Of The Comedie Humaine, Complete, A -- Z | Anatole Cerfberr and Jules Franois Christophe
Expansion and contraction broke the high arch and the connexions between the arches.
Her lowered eyelids had that vague contraction which suggests a tear checked in its course, or a thought suppressed.Toilers of the Sea | Victor Hugo
British Dictionary definitions for contraction
an instance of contracting or the state of being contracted
physiol any normal shortening or tensing of an organ or part, esp of a muscle, e.g. during childbirth
pathol any abnormal tightening or shrinking of an organ or part
a shortening of a word or group of words, often marked in written English by an apostrophe: I've come for I have come
- contractive, adjective
- contractively, adverb
- contractiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Scientific definitions for contraction
The shortening and thickening of a muscle for the purpose of exerting force on or causing movement of a body part. See more at muscle.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Cultural definitions for contraction
A word produced by running two or more words together and leaving out some of the letters or sounds. For example, isn't is a contraction of is not.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.