Definition of contraction noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//kənˈtrækʃn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//kənˈtrækʃn//
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  1. 1[uncountable] the process of becoming smaller the expansion and contraction of the metal The sudden contraction of the markets left them with a lot of unwanted stock. opposite expansion Physical stress caused by expansion and contraction can damage components within the computer.
  2. 2[countable, uncountable] a sudden and painful contracting of muscles, especially of the muscles around a woman’s womb, that happens when she is giving birth to a child The contractions started coming every five minutes. Wordfinderbirth, breech birth, caesarean, contraction, deliver, induce, labour, midwife, obstetrics, umbilical cord See related entries: Birth
  3. 3 [countable] (linguistics) a short form of a word ‘He's’ may be a contraction of ‘he is’ or ‘he has’.
  4. Word Originlate Middle English: via Old French from Latin contractio(n-), from contrahere ‘draw together’, from con- ‘together’ + trahere ‘draw’.Extra examples The contractions were coming every ten minutes. the contraction of the pipes in cold weather The design needs to allow for the expansion and contraction of the metal.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: contraction