- an act or instance of contracting.
- the quality or state of being contracted.
- 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, dep't for department.
- Physiology. the change in a muscle by which it becomes thickened and shortened.
- a restriction or withdrawal, as of currency or of funds available as call money.
- a decrease in economic and industrial activity (opposed to expansion).
Origin of 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 apostropheI've come for I have come
late 14c., "action of making a contract" (especially of marriage), also "action of shrinking or shortening," from Old French contraction (13c.), or directly from Latin contractionem (nominative contractio), noun of action from past participle stem of contrahere (see contract (n.)). Meaning "action of acquiring (a disease) is from c.1600. Grammatical sense is from 1706; meaning "a contracted word or words" is from 1755. Contractions of the uterus in labor of childbirth attested from 1962.
- The act of contracting or the state of being contracted.
- The shortening and thickening of functioning muscle or muscle fiber.
- 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.
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.