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

Now, a contraction in the automotive sector in Michigan and other states is affecting not only the large manufacturing plants, but also the parts suppliers that have provided an economic lifeline to smaller and midsize towns. Michael Tackett, New York Times, "Trump Promised a Manufacturing Renaissance. What Happens in 2020 in Places That Lost Those Jobs?," 24 June 2019 Sometimes a rapid contraction would pass over her face as if a fly had landed upon it. Benjamin Moser, Harper's magazine, "The Indirect World," 10 Apr. 2019 There were no signs of contractions, so my nurses believed my pain was just indigestion. Glamour, "Having a NICU Baby Is Its Own Trauma," 21 Mar. 2019 Stool changes during your period could be the result of progesterone levels and uterus contractions. Jo Yurcaba, Woman's Day, "There's a Reason You Get Really Bad Diarrhea During Your Period," 3 June 2019 The gain marks a turnaround from a severe contraction in February and helped put investor fears over a global economic slowdown in check. Alex Veiga, The Seattle Times, "S&P 500 notches 3rd straight weekly gain as US stocks rally," 14 Apr. 2019 When the contraction comes, who are your partners going to be in the trenches with you? Alexander Davis, WSJ, "VC Firms Polish Their Own Brands to Chase the Next Consumer Hit," 2 May 2019 This was rarely more obvious than during the contraction and collapse of the Roman Empire. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Using Medieval DNA to track the barbarian spread into Italy," 14 Sep. 2018 Economic growth was about 6 percent last year, from a contraction of 20.5 percent in 2015, according to the International Monetary Fund. Silas Gbandia, Bloomberg.com, "Sierra Leone to Vote Amid Discontent Over Ebola, Iron Ore," 6 Mar. 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

6 Jul 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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Comments on contraction

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