American Dictionary of the English Language

Dictionary Search


CONTRACTION, noun [Latin]

1. The act of drawing together, or shrinking; the act of shortening, narrowing or lessening extent or dimensions, by causing the parts of a body to approach nearer to each other; the state of being contracted.

Oil of vitriol will throw the stomach into involuntary contractions.

The contraction of the heart is called systole.

Some things induce a contraction of the nerves.

2. The act of shortening, abridging, or reducing within a narrower compass by any means. A poem may be improved by omissions or contractions.

3. In grammar, the shortening of a word, by the omission of a letter or syllable; as, cant for cannot; burst for bursted or bursten; Swedish and Danish ord, a word.

4. A contract; marriage contract. [Not used.]

5. Abbreviation.