Contract Con*tract" (k[o^]n*tr[a^]kt"), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Contracted}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Contracting}.] [L. contractus, p. p. of contrahere to contract; con- + trahere to draw: cf. F. contracter. See {Trace}, and cf. {Contract}, n.] 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. [1913 Webster]

In all things desuetude doth contract and narrow our faculties. --Dr. H. More. [1913 Webster]

2. To draw together so as to wrinkle; to knit. [1913 Webster]

Thou didst contract and purse thy brow. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

3. To bring on; to incur; to acquire; as, to contract a habit; to contract a debt; to contract a disease. [1913 Webster]

Each from each contract new strength and light. --Pope. [1913 Webster]

Such behavior we contract by having much conversed with persons of high station. --Swift. [1913 Webster]

4. To enter into, with mutual obligations; to make a bargain or covenant for. [1913 Webster]

We have contracted an inviolable amity, peace, and lague with the aforesaid queen. --Hakluyt. [1913 Webster]

Many persons . . . had contracted marriage within the degrees of consanguinity . . . prohibited by law. --Strype. [1913 Webster]

5. To betroth; to affiance. [1913 Webster]

The truth is, she and I, long since contracted, Are now so sure, that nothing can dissolve us. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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