contraction

noun
con·​trac·​tion | \ kən-ˈtrak-shən How to pronounce contraction (audio) \

Definition of contraction

1a : the action or process of contracting The hot metal undergoes contraction as it cools. : 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
d : the act of acquiring or incurring (something, such as a debt) or catching (something, such as an infection) contraction of pneumonia
2 : a shortening of a word, syllable, or word group by omission of a sound or letter also : a form produced by such shortening "They'll" is a contraction for "they will."

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Other Words from contraction

contractional \ kən-​ˈtrak-​shnəl How to pronounce contractional (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective
contractive \ kən-​ˈtrak-​tiv How to pronounce contractive (audio) , ˈkän-​ˌtrak-​ How to pronounce contractive (audio) \ adjective
contractionary \ kən-​ˈtrak-​shə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce contractionary (audio) \ adjective

Examples of contraction in a Sentence

The hot metal undergoes contraction as it cools. Two teams were eliminated in the contraction of the baseball league. She felt contractions every two minutes.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Readings above 50 indicate expansion whereas readings below that level denote contraction. ... Eric Morath, WSJ, "U.S. Services Sector Expanded in February," 5 Mar. 2019 The targets for contraction were the Minnesota Twins and Montreal Expos (who eventually dissolved into the Nationals). Nick Canepa, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Possible expansion of baseball is bloating, unappetizing entrée," 12 May 2018 The pattern of recent decades is that each European economic expansion is a bit weaker, and each contraction more traumatic, than the last one. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Europe’s Boom That Wasn’t," 8 Jan. 2019 Noviochok causes involuntary contraction of all skeletal muscles, which then leads to respiratory and cardiac arrest. James Rogers, Fox News, "Police 'super-recognizers' helped ID suspects in Novichok poisoning of ex-spy," 6 Sep. 2018 Eccentric contractions involve lengthening a muscle while contracting it and are known to potently build muscle strength and size. Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times, "Broke Your Right Arm? Exercise Your Left. It May Help, Really.," 16 May 2018 Prices in the country are doubling every 23 days, and the economy is finishing its fifth straight year in contraction. Luke.winkie, Vox, "Inside Venezuela’s YouTube prank economy," 12 Dec. 2018 Isometrics max out muscle capacity by maintaining a single contraction for an extended duration of time. Philly.com, "Build strength without moving a muscle with this isometric routine," 3 July 2018 Total sales by Chinese brands fell 23.3 percent to 909,000 vehicles, worsening from October’s 18 percent contraction. Joe Mcdonald, The Seattle Times, "China’s auto sales fall in November for fifth month," 11 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contraction.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of contraction

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for contraction

see contract entry 1

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Statistics for contraction

Last Updated

16 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for contraction

The first known use of contraction was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for contraction

contraction

noun

English Language Learners 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

contraction

noun
con·​trac·​tion | \ kən-ˈtrak-shən How to pronounce contraction (audio) \

Kids Definition of contraction

1 : the act, process, or result of making or becoming smaller or shorter and broader contraction of a muscle
2 : a short form of a word or word group (as don't or they've) produced by leaving out a letter or letters

contraction

noun
con·​trac·​tion | \ kən-ˈtrak-shən How to pronounce contraction (audio) \

Medical Definition of contraction

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

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