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as in:  the metal contracted

When it is cold, the bridge contracts and the joints are further apart.
  when something gets shorter or smaller
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contract contracts contracting contracted contractibility contractible
Contract has many reasonably common, but highly diverse senses. Accordingly, it is generally recommended that you just learn the sense (or senses) that currently interest you.
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  • When it is cold, the bridge contracts and the joints are further apart.
  • The muscle is contracted because of the pain.
  • an arrhythmic expansion and contraction of my feelings
  • My detention rage contracted into a small, spinning ball.
    Laurie Halse Anderson  --  The Impossible Knife of Memory

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  • His hands are clasped on top of his head and I can see the muscles in his back contracting from labored breaths.
    Colleen Hoover  --  Hopeless
  • His face contracts slightly, a tiny shift I can barely make out in the dark, but in that second he looks so still and sad it almost takes my breath away, like he’s a statue, or a different person.
    Lauren Oliver  --  Delirium
  • The sun was bright and hot, and I studied the contracting shadows of trees and market stalls and buildings around the square.
    V.S. Naipaul  --  A Bend in the River
  • The house cracked loudly as the cooler night air contracted the wood.
    John Steinbeck  --  The Grapes of Wrath
  • his legs contracted up, up into the seat,
    Gary Paulsen  --  Hatchet
  • It had merely become distasteful; not enough to force a decision; not enough to make him clench his fists; just enough to contract his nostrils.
    Ayn Rand  --  The Fountainhead

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  • His stomach contracted.
    John Steinbeck  --  East of Eden
  • ...shadows that jumped and contracted, only to leap up again, making the walls come alive with fantastic etchings appearing and disappearing, growing and receding.
    Forest Carter  --  Education of Little Tree
  • There was a popping sound and a putrid odor, as her pustules contracted and burst open.
    Henry H. Neff  --  The Fiend And The Forge
  • We were still ten kilometers from the village when my chronic backache spread to a deep, rock-hard contraction across my lower belly, and I understood with horror that I was in labor.
    Barbara Kingsolver  --  The Poisonwood Bible
  • His face contracted in agony, and sweat streamed down his face.
    S.E. Hinton  --  The Outsiders
  • Okay, so he’d forgotten you’re is a contraction.
    Judy Blume  --  In the Unlikely Event
  • I realized that it was the first time I had heard anyone made of flesh and blood (as opposed to some cinematic effigy) say "thirty" as a contraction for "thirty thousand."
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
  • Alec crouched anxiously alongside, patting the mare reassuringly as another contraction set in.
    Diana Gabaldon  --  Outlander
  • It is a customary contraction like our ’Co.’
    Arthur Conan Doyle  --  The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  • Another contraction ripped through her, bullets strafing metal.
    Jodi Picoult  --  Nineteen Minutes
  • When he had talked with me a little, he said to Mrs. Pocket, with a rather anxious contraction of his eyebrows, which were black and handsome, "Belinda, I hope you have welcomed Mr. Pip?"
    Charles Dickens  --  Great Expectations
  • A contraction hits her, she doubles over.
    Margaret Atwood  --  The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Milady saw by the contraction of his countenance that the trigger was about to be pulled; she reached her hand quickly to her bosom, drew out a paper, and held it toward Athos.
    Alexandre Dumas  --  The Three Musketeers
  • Behind every steel-like contraction of a muscle, lay another steel-like contraction, and another, and another, apparently without end.
    Jack London  --  White Fang
  • We went together up the flight of steps, Frith and the footman following with the rug and my mackintosh, and I was aware of a little pain at the pit of my stomach, and a nervous contraction in my throat.
    Daphne du Maurier  --  Rebecca
  • Now, whether a peculiar contraction of the Jew’s red eye-brows, and a half closing of his deeply-set eyes, warned Miss Nancy that she was disposed to be too communicative, is not a matter of much importance.
    Charles Dickens  --  Oliver Twist
  • The bitter riots were sparked by King’s assassination, but the fuels that kept them burning were the preexisting conditions: illegal but strictly enforced racial segregation, economic contraction, and an unresponsive political system.
    Wes Moore  --  The Other Wes Moore
  • Grant had finally put that one to rest, by demonstrating that many species of birds and reptiles underwent a postmortem contraction of posterior neck ligaments, which bent the head backward in a characteristic way.
    Michael Crichton  --  Jurassic Park
  • He felt the sudden contraction of his mouth, like a slap denying him the right to pursue this course of thought.
    Ayn Rand  --  Atlas Shrugged
  • Positing what protasis would the contraction for such several schemes become a natural and necessary apodosis?
    James Joyce  --  Ulysses
  • He writhed in his bonds; a violent contraction of surprise and pain distorted the muscles of his face, but he uttered not a single sigh.
    Victor Hugo  --  The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • At seven in the morning on September 13, 1996, exactly a year since the fateful evening at the Fairmont Hotel, Tara felt her first contraction.
    Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin  --  Three Cups of Tea
  • It is redeemed from insignificance only by the contraction of her eyebrows into a near-sighted scowl.
    Nathaniel Hawthorne  --  The House of the Seven Gables
  • "Pierre, give me the coffee," she said, addressing Petritsky, whom she called Pierre as a contraction of his surname, making no secret of her relations with him.
    Leo Tolstoy  --  Anna Karenina
  • Her effort to bring tears into her eyes issued in an odd contraction of her face.
    George Eliot  --  The Mill on the Floss
  • The name was a contraction of his given one, Oscar.
    David Baldacci  --  Wish You Well
  • "Yes, it is I," said the count, whom a frightful contraction of the lips prevented from articulating freely.
    Alexandre Dumas  --  The Count of Monte Cristo
  • "Do not dismiss me so soon, mademoiselle!" she said with an involuntary contraction of her fine black eyebrows.
    Charles Dickens  --  Bleak House
  • Another contraction begins, more violent than the last.
    Jhumpa Lahiri  --  The Namesake
  • Jarred awake, I stared into the dark, realizing I’d experienced the more or less normal muscular contraction known as the myoclonic jerk.
    Don DeLillo  --  White Noise
  • Her complexion was sallow; and her features small, without beauty, and naturally without expression; but a lucky contraction of the brow had rescued her countenance from the disgrace of insipidity, by giving it the strong characters of pride and ill nature.
    Jane Austen  --  Sense and Sensibility
  • But supplementary to this, it has hypothetically occurred to me, that as ordinary fish possess what is called a swimming bladder in them, capable, at will, of distension or contraction; and as the Sperm Whale, as far as I know, has no such provision in him; considering, too, the otherwise inexplicable manner in which he now depresses his head altogether beneath the surface, and anon swims with it high elevated out of the water; considering the unobstructed elasticity of its envelope;…
    Herman Melville  --  Moby Dick
  • His going, though only eight miles, will be an unwelcome contraction of our family circle; but I should have been deeply mortified if any son of mine could reconcile himself to doing less.
    Jane Austen  --  Mansfield Park
  • Such an act That blurs the grace and blush of modesty; Calls virtue hypocrite; takes off the rose From the fair forehead of an innocent love, And sets a blister there; makes marriage-vows As false as dicers’ oaths: O, such a deed As from the body of contraction plucks The very soul, and sweet religion makes A rhapsody of words: heaven’s face doth glow; Yea, this solidity and compound mass, With tristful visage, as against the doom, Is thought-sick at the act.
    William Shakespeare  --  Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
  • At home he would have said, "You didn’t …" Now he avoided the contraction, speaking in the more formal style often used by those to whom English is a second tongue.
    Betty Mahmoody  --  Not Without My Daughter
  • "No," said Clyde, a little irritated by this, his eyebrows and the skin of his forehead rising and falling as he talked—a form of contraction and expansion that went on involuntarily whenever he was nervous or thought deeply.
    Theodore Dreiser  --  An American Tragedy
  • …devilish glut, chained thunderbolts and hail Of iron globes; which, on the victor host Levelled, with such impetuous fury smote, That, whom they hit, none on their feet might stand, Though standing else as rocks, but down they fell By thousands, Angel on Arch-Angel rolled; The sooner for their arms; unarmed, they might Have easily, as Spirits, evaded swift By quick contraction or remove; but now Foul dissipation followed, and forced rout; Nor served it to relax their serried files.
    John Milton  --  Paradise Lost
  • Oak stood somewhat as Eros is represented when in the act of sharpening his arrows: his figure slightly bent, the weight of his body thrown over on the shears, and his head balanced side-ways, with a critical compression of the lips and contraction of the eyelids to crown the attitude.
    Thomas Hardy  --  Far from the Madding Crowd
  • But Madame Merle’s expansive presence underwent no contraction.
    Henry James  --  The Portrait of a Lady - Volumes 1 & 2
  • We will even keep the woman and the child if you wish; they can stay here and Clytie will ….’ watching him, staring at him yet not moving, immobile, erect, her hands folded motionless on her lap, hardly breathing as if be were some wild bird or beast which might take flight at the expansion and contraction of her nostrils or the movement of her breast ’No: I. I will.
    William Faulkner  --  Absalom, Absalom!
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Associated words [difficulty]:   contract [1]
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