American English

Definition of contraction noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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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.
  3. 3[countable] (linguistics) a short form of a word “He's” may be a contraction of “he is” or “he has.”
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: contraction