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contraction

Line breaks: con|trac¦tion
Pronunciation: /kənˈtrakʃ(ə)n
 
/

Definition of contraction in English:

noun

[mass noun]
1The process of becoming smaller: the general contraction of the industry did further damage to morale [count noun]: the manufacturing sector suffered a severe contraction
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.
Synonyms
shrinking, reduction in size, shrinkage;
North American downtick
1.1The process in which a muscle becomes or is made shorter and tighter: neurons control the contraction of muscles
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.
Synonyms
1.2 [count noun] (usually contractions) A shortening of the uterine muscles occurring at intervals before and during childbirth: she was now in no doubt that she was having contractions
More 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.
Synonyms
labour pains, labour;
archaic travail
1.3The 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.
1.4 [count noun] A 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.
Synonyms
abbreviation, short form, shortened form, elision;
technical crasis, syneresis

Origin

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

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