Definition of contraction in English:

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Pronunciation: /kənˈtrakSH(ə)n/


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
More example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • 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.
labor pains, labor;
1.3A word or group of words resulting from shortening an original form: “goodbye” is a contraction of “God be with you.”
More example sentences
  • 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.
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).

Words that rhyme with contraction

abstraction, action, attraction, benefaction, compaction, counteraction, diffraction, enaction, exaction, extraction, faction, fraction, interaction, liquefaction, malefaction, petrifaction, proaction, protraction, putrefaction, redaction, retroaction, satisfaction, stupefaction, subtraction, traction, transaction, tumefaction, vitrifaction

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: con·trac·tion

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