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

Mexico just dodged a recession— usually defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction — and its economy is expected to remain weak this year. Charles Riley, CNN, "5 of the world's biggest economies are at risk of recession," 14 Aug. 2019 Get our daily newsletter All this means a recession—defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction—is unlikely. The Economist, "Britain’s economy contracts for the first time since 2012," 9 Aug. 2019 Capital Economics said, referring to the possibility of two consecutive quarters of contraction. Anthony Harrup, WSJ, "Mexican Industrial Production Makes Sharpest Drop Since 2009," 12 July 2019 Fortune Eurozone Industry Eurozone industrial output fell in April, marking its second consecutive month of contraction. David Meyer, Fortune, "Mark Zuckerberg's Privacy Practices: CEO Daily," 13 June 2019 Over time, this lengthening (and lack of contraction) can mess with the way the muscles activate. K. Aleisha Fetters, SELF, "Why You Should Do Butt Exercises Before Your Next Run," 31 July 2018 Lod was planning to stay in Minnesota to train with United this week, but Janni started to have contractions with their baby girl earlier than her due date. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Robin Lod’s debut for Minnesota United could come sooner," 23 July 2019 When a jellyfish swims, its contractions force water under its bell, and that water carries microorganisms. Matt Simon, WIRED, "This Jellyfish Robot Is Much More Than Just a Good Swimmer," 2 July 2019 Their contraction completes a smile to indicate genuine enjoyment. Frans De Waal, Discover Magazine, "Cheerful Chimps: Are Animals Really Happy When They Smile?," 31 May 2019

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

17 Aug 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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