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2 definitions found

From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 Con·tract v. t. [imp. & p. p. Contracted; p. pr. & vb. n. Contracting.]
 1. To draw together or nearer; to reduce to a less compass; to shorten, narrow, or lessen; as, to contract one's sphere of action.
    In all things desuetude doth contract and narrow our faculties.   --Dr. H. More.
 2. To draw together so as to wrinkle; to knit.
    Thou didst contract and purse thy brow.   --Shak.
 3. To bring on; to incur; to acquire; as, to contract a habit; to contract a debt; to contract a disease.
    Each from each contract new strength and light.   --Pope.
    Such behavior we contract by having much conversed with persons of high station.   --Swift.
 4. To enter into, with mutual obligations; to make a bargain or covenant for.
    We have contracted an inviolable amity, peace, and lague with the aforesaid queen.   --Hakluyt.
    Many persons . . . had contracted marriage within the degrees of consanguinity . . . prohibited by law.   --Strype.
 5. To betroth; to affiance.
 The truth is, she and I, long since contracted,
 Are now so sure, that nothing can dissolve us.   --Shak.
 6. Gram. To shorten by omitting a letter or letters or by reducing two or more vowels or syllables to one.
 Syn: -- To shorten; abridge; epitomize; narrow; lessen; condense; reduce; confine; incur; assume.

From: WordNet (r) 2.0

 contracting
      n : becoming infected; "catching cold is sometimes unavoidable";
          "the contracting of a serious illness can be financially
          catastrophic" [syn: catching]