Definition of contraction
1a : the action or process of contracting The hot metal undergoes contraction as it cools. : the state of being contractedb : the shortening and thickening of a functioning muscle or muscle fiberc : a reduction in business activity or growthd : 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.”
contractionalplay \kən-ˈtrak-shnəl, -shə-nəl\ adjective
contractionaryplay \kən-ˈtrak-shə-ˌner-ē\ 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 of contraction from the Web
Adding to concerns about growth, Thursday’s gauge of May factory activity from Caixin also moved into contraction for the first time in nearly a year.
After seven consecutive quarters of contraction, growth resumed in the fourth quarter of 2016, though just 0.3 percent.
In March 2016, after 40 uncomfortable weeks, Heather felt her first contraction.
A set of state-level Census findings, also analyzed by Griffin and Teixeira, underscores the difficulty of reversing the long-term contraction of the white working-class, even for a candidate as dedicated as Trump to mobilizing them.
Again taking into account Astana's climate, two sides of the pyramid move on roller bearings to allow for contraction and expansion.
A slight contraction is forecast for the Americas and Japan.
Sweeney sits patiently as a consultant, Alison Walton, straps a breathing monitor around his chest and attaches electrodes to his fingertips (to measure perspiration) and his face (to detect the muscle contractions that produce frowns and smiles).
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.
Origin and Etymology of contraction
First Known Use: 15th century
CONTRACTION Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of contraction for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of contraction for Students
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
Medical Definition of contraction
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)
Seen and Heard
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