Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin contractus, from contrahere to draw together, make a contract, reduce in size, from com- + trahere to draw
Date: 14th century
a. a binding agreement between two or more persons or parties; especially one legally enforceable
b. a business arrangement for the supply of goods or services at a fixed price <make parts on contract> c. the act of marriage or an agreement to marry 2. a document describing the terms of a contract 3. the final bid to win a specified number of tricks in bridge 4. an order or arrangement for a hired assassin to kill someone <his enemies put out a contract on him> II. verb Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French contracter to agree upon, from Latin contractus Date: 14th century transitive verb 1. a. to bring on oneself especially inadvertently ; incur <contracting debts> b. to become affected with <contract pneumonia> 2. a. to establish or undertake by contract <contract a job> b. betroth; also to establish (a marriage) formally c. (1) to hire by contract <contract a lawyer> (2) to purchase (as goods or services) on a contract basis — often used with out 3. a. limit, restrict <contract the scope of their activities> b. knit, wrinkle <frown contracted his brow> c. to draw together ; concentrate 4. to reduce to smaller size by or as if by squeezing or forcing together <contract a muscle> 5. to shorten (as a word) by omitting one or more sounds or letters intransitive verb 1. to make a contract 2. to draw together so as to become diminished in size <metal contracts on cooling>; also to become less in compass, duration, or length <muscle contracts in tetanus> • contractibility noun • contractible adjective Synonyms: contract, shrink, condense, compress, constrict, deflate mean to decrease in bulk or volume. contract applies to a drawing together of surfaces or particles or a reduction of area or length <caused her muscles to contract>. shrink implies a contracting or a loss of material and stresses a falling short of original dimensions <the sweater will shrink when washed>. condense implies a reducing of something homogeneous to greater compactness without significant loss of content <condense the essay into a paragraph>. compress implies a pressing into a small compass and definite shape usually against resistance <compressed cotton into bales>. constrict implies a tightening that reduces diameter <the throat is constricted by a tight collar>. deflate implies a contracting by reducing the internal pressure of contained air or gas <deflate the balloon>. III. adjective Date: 1936 hired to execute a contract <a contract worker> <a contract killer>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.