Definition of contraction in English:



  • 1The process of becoming smaller.

    ‘the general contraction of the industry did further damage to morale’
    • ‘This was the first contraction in this industry since 1976.’
    • ‘The state managed further contraction under the Cotton Industry Act, only large integrated multinational firms surviving by 1990.’
    • ‘However, surges in the trade deficit need not cause general economic contraction if they are accompanied by growth of demand from other sources.’
    • ‘But in historical terms, the economic contraction is not as severe as some would have us believe.’
    • ‘They have not yet succeeded in skipping over the inevitable contraction of the business cycle, but they have succeeded in worsening its severity and length and delaying sound recovery.’
    • ‘This is explained by the heavy decline in total export revenues during 1986 and severe contraction in the Jordanian export commodities other than phosphate.’
    • ‘The severe economic contraction that began in the summer of 1937 seems to have brought the New Deal's legislative activism to a halt.’
    • ‘The ongoing contraction of manufacturing industry and low inflation are seen as further arguments for a fresh cut.’
    • ‘Is the severe contraction of certain major components of the governmental institution abidingly new?’
    • ‘That's an improvement from six months ago, when the board's forecasts ranged from a 1.1 percent contraction to 0.1 percent growth.’
    • ‘The consumer price index suffered its first contraction in 16 years last year, largely due to lower food and clothing prices.’
    • ‘If both these processes of diversification and contraction take place simultaneously, then there may be, at the level of the organization as a whole, a structural shift of momentous dimensions.’
    • ‘Moreover, the City in particular is suffering the worst contraction for a generation.’
    • ‘In this departure from the norm one was able to identify the possible source of a severe future economic contraction when the asset bubble burst.’
    • ‘He said that the world's main economies have suffered the biggest contraction in industrial output since 1975.’
    • ‘The longer the economy continues to persist without any economic and market contraction, the more severe the crisis will be once it occurs.’
    • ‘As the inevitable consolidation process proceeds in response to the many pressures that the industry faces, job contraction may be inevitable.’
    • ‘It was only in recent years, following the renationalisation of 1967 and the subsequent contraction of the industry, that the organisation proved to be a success.’
    • ‘The American industry has so far avoided the kind of painful contraction that the European steelworkers suffered in the last two decades.’
    • ‘Mr Wall said that the firm's success during the continuing contraction of the textiles industry had come from attention to flexibility and customer service as well as ensuring the high quality of low quantity orders.’
    shrinking, reduction in size, shrinkage
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    1. 1.1 The process in which a muscle becomes or is made shorter and tighter.
      ‘neurons control the contraction of muscles’
      ‘repeat the exercise, holding each contraction for one second’
      • ‘Unless they are very small they will take weeks to heal and undergo severe contraction.’
      • ‘But you won't get the intensity of muscle contraction that you need to see a difference in abdominal tone.’
      • ‘The mechanical contribution of atrial contraction to normal cardiac function was first described in the 17th century by William Harvey.’
      • ‘Exercises include pelvic floor muscle contraction and relaxation to improve voluntary control.’
      • ‘Symptoms of atrial fibrillation are generally due to hemodynamic derangements that are the result of loss of atrial contraction and increased ventricular response.’
      • ‘Myotonia refers to the inability to relax following muscle contraction,.’
      • ‘Thus, our measurements appear to be particularly well suited for characterization of dynamic actin rheology during airway smooth muscle contraction.’
      • ‘As collagen undergoes maturation and contraction, local forces give rise to further distension of air spaces.’
      • ‘Acetylcholine is released by neurons to provoke muscle contraction.’
      • ‘This process allows synchronization of contraction throughout the heart, and is vital for proper function.’
      • ‘The force of contraction declines slightly as it advances, reaching a nadir at about the level where the muscle becomes smooth muscle.’
      • ‘Speech, gesture, and every other form of human action are, in the long run, resolvable into muscular contraction, and muscular contraction is but a transitory change in the relative positions of the parts of a muscle.’
      • ‘We conclude that potentiation of gill contraction is not a general characteristic of bivalves and that the uneven distribution is not phylogenetically based.’
      • ‘At this point, the efficiency of contraction decreases and contractile failure ensues.’
      • ‘It is also vital for muscle contraction, and normal brain function.’
      • ‘A second, less-frequent muscle contraction, isthmus peristalsis, transports bacteria from the corpus to the terminal bulb.’
      • ‘Adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder, results from thickening and contraction of the capsule around the glenohumeral joint and causes loss of motion and pain.’
      • ‘To aid in modeling cell-driven contraction, a contractile unit was generally defined as a set of applied loads which sum to zero and produce zero net torque.’
      • ‘Load-induced injury occurs in two phases: an acute injury immediately after muscle contraction and a delayed or secondary injury.’
      • ‘At very high speed the muscle is highly tensed because of physiologic effects of certain types of muscle contraction.’
      tightening, tensing, flexing, constricting
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    2. 1.2usually contractions A shortening of the uterine muscles occurring at intervals before and during childbirth.
      • ‘I was having contractions still, but I wasn't dilated all the way, so it was still OK for everyone to be in the room, even Joey.’
      • ‘Last Friday afternoon, her waters broke and she started having contractions, even though she was two months before her due date.’
      • ‘I started having contractions Saturday morning; my baby was at 36 weeks.’
      • ‘On the journey I was having contractions and clinging to the car.’
      • ‘For example, it is suggested that lower doses cause more contraction of the womb, and higher doses have a more spasmodic effect and decrease the rate of contraction.’
      • ‘But at 10 am she began having contractions and husband Paul took her to Airedale Hospital.’
      • ‘I had been having contractions most of the week and so I wasn't really expecting anything.’
      • ‘But about 12.15 pm she started having contractions at their home in Moorhill Road.’
      • ‘I was having contractions, but only every 10 minutes so I thought she would be a long way off arriving.’
      • ‘Cloves are even useful as a stimulant to strengthen uterine muscle contractions during childbirth.’
      • ‘Such drugs increase the force and duration of uterine contractions.’
      • ‘She started having contractions this morning and I really wanted you to go to the hospital with me!’
      • ‘We had talked about what we would do if the twins arrived early but I was shell-shocked when the nurse said I was having contractions.’
      • ‘The day after the tub arrived, at 35 weeks, I began having contractions.’
      • ‘James Harding was driving his partner, Jody Marchington, to Stockport's Stepping Hill Hospital when she started having contractions with three miles to go.’
      • ‘During labour, epidural anaesthetic can make the contractions less strong.’
      • ‘She started having contractions and went to hospital while Boris stayed in the hotel and drank.’
      • ‘All patients were continuously monitored for fetal heart rate and uterine contractions.’
      • ‘It was shock more than anything because one minute I was having contractions and the next minute she was here.’
      • ‘While Doris sat having contractions in the car, George played lifesaver.’
      labour pains, labour
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    3. 1.3 The process of shortening a word by combination or elision.
      • ‘Yes, since time immemorial, either/or have been as close as two words can get without contraction.’
      • ‘The contraction of a phrase, word, or part of a word, has the analogy of a telescope being closed: biodegradable for biologically degradable; sitcom for situation comedy.’
    4. 1.4 A word or group of words resulting from shortening an original form.
      ‘“goodbye” is a contraction of “God be with you.”’
      • ‘The use of an apostrophe here indicates a contraction of ‘it is’ or ‘it has,’ which would make little sense in the context of this banner.’
      • ‘It's just a dubious contraction of the word ‘fabulous’.’
      • ‘How do you mime the archaic exclamation ‘Zounds’, a contraction of ‘God's wounds’?’
      • ‘People called him Titch, a contraction of his surname, but, truth be told, he was also titchy, the shortest boy in the whole school.’
      • ‘It's a classic, and ‘shouldn't've’ is such a wonderful contraction.’
      • ‘You know you're struggling when you go back through the chapter to expand out some contractions to make your word count for the day…’
      • ‘Bios here is a contraction of the word biosphere.’
      • ‘Another common mistake is to confuse it's and its, the former being a contraction of it is and the latter a possessive pronoun.’
      • ‘I can't resist stopping for one brief second to point out that the word holiday is merely a contraction of the words holy day.’
      • ‘To show you how far down that slick slope we've slid, lexicographically speaking, consider that quaint contraction ain't.’
      • ‘Twelve months ago, few of us had ever heard the term - a contraction of Web log - even though blogs had existed in one form or another since at least 1997.’
      • ‘The brief was to produce a complete story in 100 words, exactly, not counting the title, and allowing contractions as one word.’
      • ‘Often the file extension name is a contraction of a word which describes the file, for example, ‘.txt’ is short for text.’
      abbreviation, short form, shortened form, elision
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Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin contractio(n-), from contrahere ‘draw together’ (see contract).