Definition for CON-TRAC'TION

CON-TRAC'TION, n. [L. contractio.]

  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. – Arbuthnot. The contraction of the heart is called systole. Some things induce a contraction of the nerves. – Bacon.
  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, can't for can not; burst for bursted or bursten; Sw. and Dan. ord, a word.
  4. A contract; marriage contract. [Not used.] – Shak.
  5. Abbreviation.

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