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Noun: contraction  kun'trak-shun
  1. (physiology) a shortening or tensing of a part or organ (especially of a muscle or muscle fibre)
    - muscular contraction, muscle contraction
     
  2. The process or result of becoming smaller or pressed together
    "the contraction of a gas on cooling";
    - compression, condensation
     
  3. A word formed from two or more words by omitting or combining some sounds
    "'won't' is a contraction of 'will not'"; "'o'clock' is a contraction of 'of the clock'"
     
  4. The act of decreasing (something) in size, volume, quantity or scope
     
  5. (economics) a period of economic decline or negative growth
    "The country's economic contraction was caused by high oil prices"

Derived forms: contractions

Type of: decrease, diminution, reduction, shortening, shrinkage, shrinking, step-down, word

Antonym: expansion

Encyclopedia: Contraction