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The entry for "contraction" is displayed below.
WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2016
con•trac•tion /kənˈtrækʃən/USA pronunciation
n. WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2016
Contractions (isn't, couldn't, can't, he'll ) occur chiefly, although not exclusively, in informal speech and writing. They are common in personal letters, business letters, journalism, and fiction;
- an act or instance of contracting[countable]a contraction of about two inches in the cold weather.
- the quality or state of being contracted[uncountable]the problem of contraction in the cold.
- Grammar[countable] a shortened form of a word or group of words, with the letters that were left out often replaced in written English by an apostrophe, such as isn't for is not, they're for they are, or e'er for ever.
- Communications, Business a decrease in economic and industrial activity(opposed to expansion)[uncountable]Another six months of contraction and we'll have a real recession on our hands.
rare in scientific and scholarly writing.See -trac-.
(kən trak′shən), n.
- an act or instance of contracting.
- the quality or state of being contracted.
- Grammara shortened form of a word or group of words, with the omitted letters often replaced in written English by an apostrophe, as e'er for ever, isn't for is not, dep't for department.
- Physiology[Physiol.]the change in a muscle by which it becomes thickened and shortened.
- Businessa restriction or withdrawal, as of currency or of funds available as call money.
- Communications, Businessa decrease in economic and industrial activity (opposed to expansion).
Contractions such as isn't, couldn't, can't, weren't, he'll, they're occur chiefly, although not exclusively, in informal speech and writing. They are common in personal letters, business letters, journalism, and fiction;
- Latin contractiōn- (stem of contractiō), equivalent. to contract(us) drawn together, past participle of contrahere (see contract) + -iōn- -ion
- Middle French)
- late Middle English ( 1375–1425
they are rare in scientific and scholarly writing. Contractions occur in formal writing mainly as representations of speech.
Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
contraction /kənˈtrækʃən/ n
- an instance of contracting or the state of being contracted
- any normal shortening or tensing of an organ or part, esp of a muscle, e.g. during childbirth
- any abnormal tightening or shrinking of an organ or part
- a shortening of a word or group of words, often marked in written English by an apostrophe: I've come for I have come
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