American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The act of contracting or the state of being contracted.
- n. A word, as won't from will not, or phrase, as o'clock from of the clock, formed by omitting or combining some of the sounds of a longer phrase.
- n. The formation of such a word.
- n. Physiology The shortening and thickening of functioning muscle or muscle fiber.
- n. A period of decreased business activity.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The act of drawing together or shrinking; the condition of becoming smaller in extent or dimensions through the nearer approach to one another of the parts; the state of being contracted; a decrease in volume, bulk, or dimensions, as from loss of heat. All bodies, with very few exceptions, expand by the application of heat, and contract when heat is withdrawn. (See
expansionand heat.) Contraction also takes place when a gas is condensed to a liquid, and in most cases when a liquid is changed to a solid; there are, however, some exceptions, as water, which expands on solidifying.
- n. The act of making short, of abridging, or of reducing within a narrower compass by any means; the act of lessening or making smaller in amount; the state of being so lessened; reduction; diminution; abridgment: as, a contraction of the currency.
- n. Specifically A shortening of a word in pronunciation or in writing: as, can't is a contraction of cannot. In writing, contraction takes place, as in pronunciation, primarily by the omission of intermediate letters; but also by writing in a smaller character the last letter above the word contracted, by running two or more letters into one character, by using symbols representing syllables or words, and by the use of initial letters: as, recd. for received; qm for quam; & for ct. Specifically, in Greek grammar, the uniou of the concurrent vowels of two syllables into one long vowel or diphthong—that is, of
οωinto ω, of εεinto ει, etc. See abbreviation, 2.
- n. In ancient prosody, the use of a single long time or syllable in place of two short times. Thus, in the dactylic hexameter, a spondee
can be substituted in the first four feet for a dactyl , one long being metrically equivalent to two shorts; but such a substitution is admissible only in certain kinds of verse and in certain parts of a foot or line, according to special rules. In the dactylic hexameter, for example, the fifth foot must ordinarily be a dactyl, not a spondee. The converse of contraction is resolution.
- n. The act of making a contract; the state of being under a contract, especially one of marriage.
- n. In surgery, an abnormal and permanent alteration in the relative position and forms of parts, arising from various causes, as in ankylosis, distortion, clubfoot, wryneck, etc.
- n. In mathematics, any device for abridging the mechanical labor of making calculations by diminishing the number of characters written down.
- n. The act or process of contracting or acquiring: as, the contraction of a debt.
- n. A reversible reduction in size.
- n. economics A period of economic decline or negative growth.
- n. biology A shortening of a muscle when it is used.
- n. medicine A strong and often painful shortening of the uterine muscles prior to or during childbirth.
- n. linguistics A process whereby one or more sounds of a free morpheme (a word) are lost or reduced, such that it becomes a bound morpheme (a clitic) that attaches phonologically to an adjacent word.
- n. A word with omitted letters replaced by an apostrophe, usually resulting from the above process.
- n. medicine Contracting a disease.
- n. phonetics Syncope, the loss of sounds from within a word.
- n. The acquisition of something, generally negative.
- n. medicine A distinct stage of wound healing, wherein the wound edges are gradually pulled together.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The act or process of contracting, shortening, or shrinking; the state of being contracted.
- n. (Math.) The process of shortening an operation.
- n. The act of incurring or becoming subject to, as liabilities, obligation, debts, etc.; the process of becoming subject to.
- n. Something contracted or abbreviated, as a word or phrase; -- as,
plenipofor plenipotentiary; crim. con.for criminal conversation, etc.
- n. (Gram.) The shortening of a word, or of two words, by the omission of a letter or letters, or by reducing two or more vowels or syllables to one; as,
ne'erfor never; can'tfor can not; don'tfor do not; it'sfor it is.
- n. obsolete A marriage contract.
- n. the process or result of becoming smaller or pressed together
- n. (physiology) a shortening or tensing of a part or organ (especially of a muscle or muscle fiber)
- n. a word formed from two or more words by omitting or combining some sounds
- n. the act of decreasing (something) in size or volume or quantity or scope
- From Latin contractiō. (Wiktionary)
“ÂÂThe contraction is short for "He has," which makes the "got" redundant, as "He has no fear" is perfectly acceptable.”
“Herr Carlo Landberg (Proverbes et Dictons du Peuple Arabe, vol.i. of Syria, Leyden, E.J. Brill, 1883) explains layta for rayta (= raayta) by permutation of liquids and argues that the contraction is ancient (p. 42).”
“To be sure, the economic contraction is causing pain just about everywhere.”
“The latest economic releases suggest that the economy was back in contraction mode in the third quarter after enjoying two successive quarters of very modest growth," said Raj Badiani, analyst at IHS Global Insight.”
“The ECB head said there was no trade-off between austerity and growth, explaining that it was impossible to avoid a short-term contraction as the previous growth levels in some countries were not sustainable.”
“And the pace of GDP contraction is slowing and many private forecasters expect to see positive growth in the second half of this year.”
“LongCat: Ah, so the contraction is inherently suspect.”
“So, I doubt that contraction is going to continue at this pace let alone drop to 1930 levels.”
“And now the idea of contraction is rearing its head.”
“The contraction is small - a mere 1 percent change in volume - but that was enough to grab most objects the researchers tested.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘contraction’.
Terms from the fields of terminology, lexicography, lexicology and corpus linguistics
For double the fun, see also Congenital Conditions.
Hopefully, I'll be using this site for more than one year. It will be fun then to look back and see what new words I found worthy of notice in any given year.
All words spotted in 2008...
Most of these describe word patterns or relationships between words.
terms relevant to English grammar
Nouns meaning a narrowing
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