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a. An agreement between two or more parties, especially one that is written and enforceable by law.
b. The writing or document containing such an agreement.
2. The branch of law dealing with formal agreements between parties.
3. Marriage as a formal agreement; betrothal.
4. Games
a. The last and highest bid of a suit in one hand in bridge.
b. The number of tricks thus bid.
c. Contract bridge.
5. A paid assignment to murder someone: put out a contract on the mobster's life.
v. (kən-trăkt′, kŏn′trăkt′) con·tract·ed, con·tract·ing, con·tracts
1. To enter into by contract; establish or settle by formal agreement: contract a marriage.
2. To acquire or incur: contract obligations; contract a serious illness.
a. To reduce in size by drawing together; shrink.
b. To pull together; wrinkle.
4. Grammar To shorten (a word or words) by omitting or combining some of the letters or sounds, as do not to don't.
1. To enter into or make an agreement: contract for garbage collection.
2. To become reduced in size by or as if by being drawn together: The pupils of the patient's eyes contracted.

[Middle English, from Latin contractus, past participle of contrahere, to draw together, make a contract : com-, com- + trahere, to draw.]

con·tract′i·bil′i·ty n.
con·tract′i·ble adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Low calcium intake during pregnancy may stimulate PTH secretion, increasing intracellular calcium and smooth uterine muscle contractibility which is consistent with induction of preterm labor, (46) or abortion, (47) and/or renin release from the kidney, leading to vasoconstriction and retention of sodium and fluid.
The contractibility of contracted controller has been demonstrated through the cited theorem.
"Contractibility and Asset Ownership: On-board Computers and Governance in US Trucking." Quarterlyjournal of Economics 119 (4): 1443-79
Other factors like prostatic regrowth, urethral strictures, the usage of anticholinergic medications and age-related detrusor contractibility influence bladder emptying.
The latter paper suggests that the elasticity of demand for a firm's final product, as well as the relative contractibility vis-a-vis stages located upstream or downstream from a given production stage, determine upstream or downstream integration choices.
The increase in LVIDd, LVIDs and decrease in LVPW and IVS thickness are attributed to impaired myocardial contractibility and progressive dilatation of ventricles (Tidholm et al., 2001).
Through laboratory tests, this paper focuses on the study of the influence of the water-cement ratio, aggregate content, and age on the early stage contractibility and the transitional stage resistance increasing speed, the late-stage compressive strength, and the postpeak carrying capacity of gangue concrete.
We are able to establish a convergence theorem for certain continuous quasi-nonexpansive mean-type mappings in general normed linear spaces (which immediately covers the result in [3]) and conclude the contractibility of their fixed point sets.
Briefly, empty or MSC-laden membranes obtained after 19 days of culture that were cooled to 4[degrees]C for 48 to 72 hours before processing in the experiments were used (such a delay was unavoidable due to the shipment from the laboratory where MSC were grown to the location were contractibility experiments were undertaken).
A critical regulator of cardiomyocyte contractibility is calcium ([Ca.sup.2+]) mobilization.