Definition of contraction in English:


Syllabification: con·trac·tion
Pronunciation: /kənˈtrakSHən


  • 1The process of becoming smaller: the general contraction of the industry did further damage to morale
    More example sentences
    • This is explained by the heavy decline in total export revenues during 1986 and severe contraction in the Jordanian export commodities other than phosphate.
    • However, surges in the trade deficit need not cause general economic contraction if they are accompanied by growth of demand from other sources.
    • The longer the economy continues to persist without any economic and market contraction, the more severe the crisis will be once it occurs.
    shrinking, shrinkage, decline, decrease, diminution, dwindling
  • 1.1The process in which a muscle becomes or is made shorter and tighter: neurons control the contraction of muscles repeat the exercise, holding each contraction for one second
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    • A second, less-frequent muscle contraction, isthmus peristalsis, transports bacteria from the corpus to the terminal bulb.
    • Acetylcholine is released by neurons to provoke muscle contraction.
    • Exercises include pelvic floor muscle contraction and relaxation to improve voluntary control.
    tightening, tensing, flexing
  • 1.2 (usually contractions) A shortening of the uterine muscles occurring at intervals before and during childbirth.
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    • Cloves are even useful as a stimulant to strengthen uterine muscle contractions during childbirth.
    • All patients were continuously monitored for fetal heart rate and uterine contractions.
    • Such drugs increase the force and duration of uterine contractions.
  • 1.3A word or group of words resulting from shortening an original form: “goodbye” is a contraction of “God be with you.”
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    • How do you mime the archaic exclamation ‘Zounds’, a contraction of ‘God's wounds’?
    • You know you're struggling when you go back through the chapter to expand out some contractions to make your word count for the day…
    • The brief was to produce a complete story in 100 words, exactly, not counting the title, and allowing contractions as one word.
    abbreviation, short form, shortened form, elision, diminutive
  • 1.4The process of shortening a word by combination or elision.
    More example sentences
    • The contraction of a phrase, word, or part of a word, has the analogy of a telescope being closed: biodegradable for biologically degradable; sitcom for situation comedy.
    • Yes, since time immemorial, either/or have been as close as two words can get without contraction.


late Middle English: via Old French from Latin contractio(n-), from contrahere 'draw together' (see contract).

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