A contraction is the act of decreasing the size of something or shortening it, or it can be the process of becoming smaller or compressed.

The two most well-known uses of contraction involve muscles and words. A contraction of the muscle tenses it or shortens it, like when you're standing in the mirror flexing and admiring yourself. On the other hand, a contraction can also be two words that are combined, with a few letters often replaced by an apostrophe, like when we change do and not into don't.

Definitions of contraction
  1. noun
    the act of decreasing (something) in size or volume or quantity or scope
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    enlargement, expansion
    the act of increasing (something) in size or volume or quantity or scope
    type of:
    decrease, diminution, reduction, step-down
    the act of decreasing or reducing something
  2. noun
    the process or result of becoming smaller or pressed together
    “the contraction of a gas on cooling”
    synonyms: compression, condensation
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    coarctation, constriction
    tight or narrow compression
    type of:
    shrinkage, shrinking
    process or result of becoming less or smaller
  3. noun
    (physiology) a shortening or tensing of a part or organ (especially of a muscle or muscle fiber)
    synonyms: muscle contraction, muscular contraction
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    an abnormal and usually permanent contraction of a muscle
    a sustained muscular contraction resulting from a rapid series of nerve impulses
    uterine contraction
    a rhythmic tightening in labor of the upper uterine musculature that contracts the size of the uterus and pushes the fetus toward the birth canal
    Braxton-Hicks contraction, false labor
    painless contractions of the muscles of the uterus that continue throughout pregnancy with increasing frequency
    muscular contraction that causes the vagina to close; usually an anxiety reaction before coitus or pelvic examination
    type of:
    act of decreasing in length
  4. noun
    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'”
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    type of:
    a unit of language that native speakers can identify
Word Family

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