I. noun 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 1. 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 nouncontractible 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.

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