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noun con·tract \ˈkän-ˌtrakt\

Simple Definition of contract

  • : a legal agreement between people, companies, etc.

  • : a document on which the words of a contract are written

  • : an agreement to kill a person for money

Full Definition of contract

  1. 1 a :  a binding agreement between two or more persons or parties; especially :  one legally enforceable b :  a business arrangement for the supply of goods or services at a fixed price <make parts on contract> c :  the act of marriage or an agreement to marry

  2. 2 :  a document describing the terms of a contract

  3. 3 :  the final bid to win a specified number of tricks in bridge

  4. 4 :  an order or arrangement for a hired assassin to kill someone <his enemies put out a contract on him>

Examples of contract

  1. The contract requires him to finish work by the end of the year.

  2. I tore up the contract.

  3. Have you signed the contract yet?

Origin of contract

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin contractus, from contrahere to draw together, make a contract, reduce in size, from com- + trahere to draw

First Known Use: 14th century



verb con·tract \vt 2a & vi 1 usually ˈkän-ˌtrakt, others usually kən-ˈ\

Simple Definition of contract

  • : to make (something) smaller or shorter

  • : to become smaller

  • : to become ill with (a disease)

Full Definition of contract

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to bring on oneself especially inadvertently :  incur <contracting debts> b :  to become affected with <contract pneumonia>

  3. 2 a :  to establish or undertake by contract <contract a job> b :  betroth; also :  to establish (a marriage) formally c (1) :  to hire by contract <contract a lawyer> (2) :  to purchase (as goods or services) on a contract basis —often used with out

  4. 3 a :  limit, restrict <contract the scope of their activities> b :  knit, wrinkle <frown contracted his brow> c :  to draw together :  concentrate

  5. 4 :  to reduce to smaller size by or as if by squeezing or forcing together <contract a muscle>

  6. 5 :  to shorten (as a word) by omitting one or more sounds or letters

  7. intransitive verb
  8. 1 :  to make a contract

  9. 2 :  to draw together so as to become diminished in size <metal contracts on cooling>; also :  to become less in compass, duration, or length <muscle contracts in tetanus>

con·tract·ibil·i·ty play \kən-ˌtrak-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē, ˌkän-\ noun
con·tract·ible play \kən-ˈtrak-tə-bəl, ˈkän-ˌ\ adjective

Examples of contract

  1. She contracted her lips into a frown.

  2. The muscle expands and then contracts.

  3. The hot metal contracted as it cooled.

Origin of contract

Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French contracter to agree upon, from Latin contractus

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of contract

contract, shrink, condense, compress, constrict, deflate mean to decrease in bulk or volume. contract applies to a drawing together of surfaces or particles or a reduction of area or length <caused her muscles to contract>. shrink implies a contracting or a loss of material and stresses a falling short of original dimensions <the sweater will shrink when washed>. condense implies a reducing of something homogeneous to greater compactness without significant loss of content <condense the essay into a paragraph>. compress implies a pressing into a small compass and definite shape usually against resistance <compressed cotton into bales>. constrict implies a tightening that reduces diameter <the throat is constricted by a tight collar>. deflate implies a contracting by reducing the internal pressure of contained air or gas <deflate the balloon>.



adjective con·tract

Definition of contract

  1. :  hired to execute a contract <a contract worker> <a contract killer>


First Known Use of contract


CONTRACT Defined for Kids



noun con·tract \ˈkän-ˌtrakt\

Definition of contract

  1. 1 :  a legal agreement

  2. 2 :  a written document that shows the terms and conditions of a legal agreement



verb con·tract \kən-ˈtrakt, 1 is also ˈkän-ˌtrakt\

Definition of contract


  1. 1 :  to agree by contract <The property's owner contracted to build a house.>

  2. 2 :  to become sick with :  catch <contract pneumonia>

  3. 3 :  to draw together and make shorter and broader <contract a muscle>

  4. 4 :  to make or become smaller :  shrink <Cold metal contracts.>

  5. 5 :  to make (as a word) shorter by dropping sounds or letters

Medical Dictionary


play play
transitive verb con·tract \kən-ˈtrakt also ˈkän-ˌtrakt\

Medical Definition of contract

  1. 1:  to become affected with <contract pneumonia>

  2. 2:  to reduce to smaller size by or as if by squeezing or drawing together <treatment…inhibits spindle formation and contracts chromosomes—Ernst Mayr>

  3. 3 of a muscle or muscle fiber :  to cause to undergo contraction; especially :  to cause to shorten and thicken

  4. intransitive verb

  5. 1:  to draw together so as to become diminished in size

  6. 2 of a muscle or muscle fiber :  to undergo contraction; especially :  to shorten and thicken

  7. con·tract·ibil·i·ty \kən-ˌtrak-tə-ˈbil-ət-ē, ˌkän-\play noun, plural con·tract·ibil·i·ties
    con·tract·ible \kən-ˈtrak-tə-bəl, ˈkän-ˌ\play adjective

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February 7, 2016

a slight offense

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