Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

contraction

play
noun con·trac·tion \kən-ˈtrak-shən\

Simple Definition of contraction

  • : the act or process of making something smaller or of becoming smaller

  • medical : a movement of a muscle that causes it to become tight and that is sometimes painful; especially : a movement of muscles in the womb when a woman is giving birth to a child

  • : a short form of a word or word group that is made by leaving out a sound or letter

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of contraction

  1. 1 a :  the action or process of contracting :  the state of being contracted b :  the shortening and thickening of a functioning muscle or muscle fiber c :  a reduction in business activity or growth

  2. 2 :  a shortening of a word, syllable, or word group by omission of a sound or letter; also :  a form produced by such shortening

contractional play \-shnəl, -shə-nəl\ adjective
contractive play \kən-ˈtrak-tiv, ˈkän-ˌ\ adjective
contractionary play \kən-ˈtrak-shə-ˌner-ē\ adjective

Examples of contraction in a sentence

  1. The hot metal undergoes contraction as it cools.

  2. Two teams were eliminated in the contraction of the baseball league.

  3. She felt contractions every two minutes.



15th Century

First Known Use of contraction

15th century


CONTRACTION Defined for Kids

contraction

play
noun con·trac·tion \kən-ˈtrak-shən\

Definition of contraction for Students

  1. 1 :  the act, process, or result of making or becoming smaller or shorter and broader <contraction of a muscle>

  2. 2 :  a short form of a word or word group (as don't or they've) produced by leaving out a letter or letters




Medical Dictionary

contraction

play
noun con·trac·tion \kən-ˈtrak-shən\

Medical Definition of contraction

  1. 1:  the action or process of contracting :  the state of being contracted <contraction of hepatitis> <lung expansion and contraction in breathing—P. G. Donohue>

  2. 2:  the action of a functioning muscle or muscle fiber in which force is generated accompanied especially by shortening and thickening of the muscle or muscle fiber or sometimes by its lengthening <isometric contraction> <isotonic contraction>; especially :  the shortening and thickening of a functioning muscle or muscle fiber

  3. 3:  one of usually a series of rhythmic tightening actions of the uterine muscles (as during menstruation or labor)





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up contraction? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to defraud especially of money

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image567572573

Which of these is a synonym of unctuous?

angry oily maudlin prompt
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ