AskDefine | Define contraction

Dictionary Definition



1 (physiology) a shortening or tensing of a part or organ (especially of a muscle or muscle fiber) [syn: muscular contraction, muscle contraction]
2 the process or result of becoming smaller or pressed together; "the contraction of a gas on cooling" [syn: compression, condensation]
3 a word formed from two or more words by omitting or combining some sounds; "`won't' is a contraction of `will not'"; "`o'clock' is a contraction of `of the clock'"
4 the act of decreasing (something) in size or volume or quantity or scope [ant: expansion]

User Contributed Dictionary



contract + -tion.



  1. A reversible reduction in size.
  2. A period of economic decline or negative growth.
    The country's economic contraction was caused by high oil prices.
  3. A shortening of a muscle when it is used.
  4. A strong and often painful shortening of the uterine muscles prior to or during childbirth.
  5. A shortened word or phrase, with the missing letters represented by an apostrophe.
    "Don't" is a contraction of "do not."
  6. Contracting a disease.
    The contraction of AIDS from toilet seats is extremely rare.
  7. Syncope, the loss of sounds from within a word.
  8. The acquisition of something, generally negative.
    Our contraction of debt in this quarter has reduced our ability to attract investors.
  9. A distinct stage of wound healing, wherein the wound edges are gradually pulled together.


reduction in size or activity
shortening of a muscle when it is used
painful shortening of the uterine muscles
shortened word or phrase

Extensive Definition

Contraction may refer to:
contraction in German: Kontraktion
contraction in Spanish: Contracción
contraction in French: Contraction
contraction in Polish: Kontrakcja

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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