Synonyms of contract

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 a formal agreement to fulfill an obligation
  • accused her of breaking their contract by not completing the decorating job on budget

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2 an arrangement about action to be taken
  • a contract outlining what needed to be done by each person

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Synonyms & Antonyms of contract (Entry 2 of 2)

1 to become affected with (a disease or disorder)
  • before vaccines were invented, people lived in fear of contracting polio

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2 to become smaller in size or volume through the drawing together of particles of matter
  • metal contracts at low temperatures

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3 to reduce in size or volume by or as if by pressing parts or members together
  • contract the calf muscles in your legs

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4 to come to an arrangement as to a course of action
  • the farmer contracted for delivery of the hay by the first of July

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Frequently Asked Questions About contract

How is the word contract different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of contract are compress, condense, constrict, deflate, and shrink. While all these words mean "to decrease in bulk or volume," contract applies to a drawing together of surfaces or particles or a reduction of area or length.

caused her muscles to contract

Where would compress be a reasonable alternative to contract?

In some situations, the words compress and contract are roughly equivalent. However, compress implies a pressing into a small compass and definite shape usually against resistance.

compressed cotton into bales

When would condense be a good substitute for contract?

Although the words condense and contract have much in common, condense implies a reducing of something homogeneous to greater compactness without significant loss of content.

condense the essay into a paragraph

When is it sensible to use constrict instead of contract?

The words constrict and contract are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, constrict implies a tightening that reduces diameter.

the throat is constricted by a tight collar

In what contexts can deflate take the place of contract?

While in some cases nearly identical to contract, deflate implies a contracting by reducing the internal pressure of contained air or gas.

deflate the balloon

When might shrink be a better fit than contract?

The synonyms shrink and contract are sometimes interchangeable, but shrink implies a contracting or a loss of material and stresses a falling short of original dimensions.

the sweater will shrink when washed

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The first known use of contract was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Contract.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

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