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

Some will perish; contractions always follow explosions. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "Why 'Moon Shot' Has No Place in the 21st Century," 16 July 2019 Sharks can hear prey up to a kilometer away, even the itty-bitty sounds, like water disturbances and muscle contractions. Erin Davis And Katherine Dillinger, CNN, "Shark Awareness Day facts to make you rethink 'Jaws'," 14 July 2019 Symptoms do not appear for three to four days after contraction and can include severe abdominal cramps, watery or bloody diarrhea and vomiting. Ramona Sentinel, "County E. coli cases reach 10 confirmed, one probable," 12 July 2019 Readings of the indicator above 50 indicate economic expansion, and readings below 50 indicate contraction. Erin Douglas, Houston Chronicle, "Houston manufacturing sector forecast to decline," 10 July 2019 Hotter weather allows for speedier muscle contractions and therefore, more chirping. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "You Can Tell How Hot It Is Outside Just by Listening to the Crickets," 8 July 2019 His posture was intensely stooped, as if physically manifesting some emotional contraction. Mary Gaitskill, The New Yorker, "This Is Pleasure," 8 July 2019 Readings above 50 indicate expansion, while a reading below 50 reflects contraction. Washington Post, "Global shares rise on hopes for US-China trade negotiations," 1 July 2019 Expansions don’t die of old age but eventually excesses will build in the system which will inevitably cause another economic contraction. Ben Carlson, Fortune, "When the Next Recession Hits, 4 Good Things Could Happen," 19 June 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

20 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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