Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An agreement between two or more parties, especially one that is written and enforceable by law.
  • noun The writing or document containing such an agreement.
  • noun The branch of law dealing with formal agreements between parties.
  • noun Marriage as a formal agreement; betrothal.
  • noun The last and highest bid of a suit in one hand in bridge.
  • noun The number of tricks thus bid.
  • noun Contract bridge.
  • noun A paid assignment to murder someone.
  • intransitive verb To enter into by contract; establish or settle by formal agreement.
  • intransitive verb To acquire or incur.
  • intransitive verb To reduce in size by drawing together; shrink.
  • intransitive verb To pull together; wrinkle.
  • intransitive verb Grammar To shorten (a word or words) by omitting or combining some of the letters or sounds, as do not to don't.
  • intransitive verb To enter into or make an agreement.
  • intransitive verb To become reduced in size by or as if by being drawn together.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Condensed; brief.
  • Concrete.
  • Contracted; affianced; betrothed.
  • noun A contracted word; a contraction.
  • noun A drawing together; mutual attraction; attractive force.
  • noun An agreement between two or more parties for the doing or the not doing of some definite thing. Parsons, Contracts, I. 6. See def. 5.
  • noun Specifically Betrothal.
  • noun The writing which contains the agreement of parties, with the terms and conditions, and which serves as evidence of the obligation.
  • noun Specifically, in law, an interchange of legal rights by agreement.
  • noun A written contract specifying in detail what is to be done, as a building-contract with specifications.
  • To draw together or closer; draw into a smaller compass, either by compression or by the omission of parts; shorten; abridge; condense; narrow; lessen: as, to contract a space or an inclosure; to contract the period of life; to contract a word or an essay.
  • To draw the parts of together; wrinkle; pucker.
  • In grammar, to shorten by combination of concurrent vowels into one long vowel or a diphthong.
  • To betroth; affiance.
  • To make, settle, or establish by contract or agreement.
  • To acquire, as by habit, use, or contagion; gain by accretion or variation; bring on; incur: as, to contract vicious habits by indulgence; to contract debt by extravagance; to contract disease.
  • To be drawn together; be reduced in compass; become smaller, shorter, or narrower; shrink.
  • To make a bargain; enter into an agreement or engagement; covenant: as, to contract for a load of flour; to contract to carry the mail.
  • To bind one's self by promise of marriage.
  • Synonyms Diminish, Dwindle, etc. See decrease.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Contracted.
  • intransitive verb To be drawn together so as to be diminished in size or extent; to shrink; to be reduced in compass or in duration.
  • intransitive verb To make an agreement; to covenant; to agree; to bargain.
  • noun (Law) The agreement of two or more persons, upon a sufficient consideration or cause, to do, or to abstain from doing, some act; an agreement in which a party undertakes to do, or not to do, a particular thing; a formal bargain; a compact; an interchange of legal rights.
  • noun A formal writing which contains the agreement of parties, with the terms and conditions, and which serves as a proof of the obligation.
  • noun The act of formally betrothing a man and woman.
  • adjective obsolete Contracted; affianced; betrothed.
  • transitive verb To draw together or nearer; to reduce to a less compass; to shorten, narrow, or lessen.
  • transitive verb To draw together so as to wrinkle; to knit.
  • transitive verb To bring on; to incur; to acquire.
  • transitive verb To enter into, with mutual obligations; to make a bargain or covenant for.
  • transitive verb To betroth; to affiance.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Latin contractus, past participle of contrahere, to draw together, make a contract : com-, com- + trahere, to draw.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old French contract, from Latin contractum, past participle of contrahere ("to bring together, to bring about, to conclude a bargain"), from con- ("with, together") + trahere ("to draw, to pull").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Middle French contracter, from Latin contractum, past participle of contrahere ("to bring together, to bring about, to conclude a bargain"), from con- ("with, together") + trahere ("to draw, to pull"). the verb developed after the noun, and originally meant only "draw together"; the sense "make a contract with" developed later.

Examples

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Comments

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  • "While official figures showed the economy contracting at its fastest since 1980, National Grid said demand for electricity had fallen over Christmas at homes and factories across the land, and Poland confirmed that thousands of its citizens were coming home from Britain and Ireland."

    - Ashley Seager and Mark Milner, 'Lights go out across Britain as recession hits home' in The Guardian, 24 January 2009.

    January 25, 2009