contraction

noun

con·​trac·​tion kən-ˈtrak-shən How to pronounce contraction (audio)
1
a
: 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."
contractional
kən-ˈtrak-shnəl How to pronounce contraction (audio)
-shə-nᵊl
adjective
contractive adjective
contractionary 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.
Recent Examples on the Web In 2022, the nation’s population declined by 800,000, marking the 14th consecutive year of contraction. Elisabeth Buchwald, CNN, 16 Feb. 2024 News has also been hard hit by the industrywide contraction. Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times, 13 Feb. 2024 The empire was suffering postwar contractions, and Fleming was no longer running his quasi-private armies. James Parker, The Atlantic, 12 Feb. 2024 Following a decade of growth — remember the days of 100 pilots? — the TV landscape on broadcast is experiencing further contraction because of production delays caused by both the pandemic and Hollywood’s historic dual strikes in 2023. Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Feb. 2024 This new course is mirrored in a global downturn in commissioning activity, with the U.S. market experiencing the most notable contraction. Callum McLennan, Variety, 31 Jan. 2024 The wider European Union economy, which includes 27 member states, also dodged a recession, typically defined as two consecutive quarters of economic contraction. Anna Cooban, CNN, 30 Jan. 2024 The consensus for eurozone GDP growth for 2024 is 0.5%, which is higher than Citi economics’ forecast of a 0.3% contraction. WSJ, 5 Jan. 2024 Fury of the Gods, which ended up being part of 2023’s superhero contraction. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'contraction.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

see contract entry 1

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near contraction

Cite this Entry

“Contraction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/contraction. Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

contraction

noun
con·​trac·​tion kən-ˈtrak-shən How to pronounce contraction (audio)
1
a
: the act or process of contracting : the state of being contracted
b
: the shortening and thickening of a working muscle or muscle fiber
2
a
: a shortening of a word, syllable, or word group by leaving out a sound or letter
b
: a form (as don't or they've) produced by such shortening

Medical Definition

contraction

noun
con·​trac·​tion kən-ˈtrak-shən How to pronounce contraction (audio)
1
: the action or process of contracting : the state of being contracted
contraction of hepatitis
lung expansion and contraction in breathingP. 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)

More from Merriam-Webster on contraction

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