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contract
used in Moby Dick

16 uses
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1  —2 uses as in:
the metal contracted
Definition
when something gets shorter or smaller
  • 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;...
    Chapters 76-78 -- The Battering-Ram; The Great Heidelburgh Tun; Cistern and Buckets (18% in)
  • ...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; considering the unique interior of his head; it has hypothetically occurred to me, I say, that those mystical lung-celled honeycombs there may possibly have some hitherto unknown and unsuspected connexion with the outer air, so as to be susceptible to atmospheric distension and contraction.
    Chapters 76-78 -- The Battering-Ram; The Great Heidelburgh Tun; Cistern and Buckets (21% in)

There are no more uses of "contract" flagged with this meaning in Moby Dick.

Typical Usage  (best examples)
Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary list — Onelook.com®
?  —14 uses
exact meaning not specified
  • However contracted, that definition is the result of expanded meditation.
    Chapters 31-33 -- Queen Mab; Cetology; The Specksnyder (29% in)
  • Like most old fashioned pulpits, it was a very lofty one, and since a regular stairs to such a height would, by its long angle with the floor, seriously contract the already small area of the chapel, the architect, it seemed, had acted upon the hint of Father Mapple, and finished the pulpit without a stairs, substituting a perpendicular side ladder, like those used in mounting a ship from a boat at sea.
    Chapters 7-9 -- The Chapel; The Pulpit; The Sermon (23% in)
  • Then, in that contracted hole, sunk, too, beneath the ship's water-line, Jonah feels the heralding presentiment of that stifling hour, when the whale shall hold him in the smallest of his bowels' wards.
    Chapters 7-9 -- The Chapel; The Pulpit; The Sermon (63% in)
  • The strong vapour now completely filling the contracted hole, it began to tell upon him.
    Chapters 19-21 -- The Prophet; All Astir; Going Aboard (94% in)
  • Ahab's full lunacy subsided not, but deepeningly contracted; like the unabated Hudson, when that noble Northman flows narrowly, but unfathomably through the Highland gorge.
    Chapters 40-42 -- Midnight, Forecastle; Moby Dick; The Whiteness of the Whale (50% in)
  • Though, in these cases, the direction taken by any one whale be straight as a surveyor's parallel, and though the line of advance be strictly confined to its own unavoidable, straight wake, yet the arbitrary VEIN in which at these times he is said to swim, generally embraces some few miles in width (more or less, as the vein is presumed to expand or contract); but never exceeds the visual sweep from the whale-ship's mast-heads, when circumspectly gliding along this magic zone.
    Chapters 43-45 -- Hark!; The Chart; The Affidavit (18% in)
  • And now abating in his flurry, the whale once more rolled out into view; surging from side to side; spasmodically dilating and contracting his spout-hole, with sharp, cracking, agonized respirations.
    Chapters 61-63 -- Stubb Kills a Whale; The Dart; The Crotch (62% in)
  • True, from the unmarred dead body of the whale, you may scrape off with your hand an infinitely thin, transparent substance, somewhat resembling the thinnest shreds of isinglass, only it is almost as flexible and soft as satin; that is, previous to being dried, when it not only contracts and thickens, but becomes rather hard and brittle.
    Chapters 67-69 -- Cutting In; The Blanket; The Funeral (40% in)
  • Bear in mind, too, that under these untoward circumstances he has to cut many feet deep in the flesh; and in that subterraneous manner, without so much as getting one single peep into the ever-contracting gash thus made, he must skilfully steer clear of all adjacent, interdicted parts, and exactly divide the spine at a critical point hard by its insertion into the skull.
    Chapters 70-72 -- The Sphynx; The Jeroboam's Story; The Monkey-Rope (3% in)
  • As marching armies approaching an unfriendly defile in the mountains, accelerate their march, all eagerness to place that perilous passage in their rear, and once more expand in comparative security upon the plain; even so did this vast fleet of whales now seem hurrying forward through the straits; gradually contracting the wings of their semicircle, and swimming on, in one solid, but still crescentic centre.
    Chapters 85-87 -- The Fountain; The Tail; The Grand Armada (59% in)
  • First, the whales forming the margin of our lake began to crowd a little, and tumble against each other, as if lifted by half spent billows from afar; then the lake itself began faintly to heave and swell; the submarine bridal-chambers and nurseries vanished; in more and more contracting orbits the whales in the more central circles began to swim in thickening clusters.
    Chapters 85-87 -- The Fountain; The Tail; The Grand Armada (95% in)
  • And not only this, but to that ever-contracting, dropping circle ashore, who, for any reason, possessed the privilege of a less banned approach to him; to that timid circle the above hinted casualty—remaining, as it did, moodily unaccounted for by Ahab—invested itself with terrors, not entirely underived from the land of spirits and of wails.
    Chapters 106-108 -- Ahab's Leg; The Carpenter; Ahab and the Carpenter (19% in)
  • For so revolvingly appalling was the White Whale's aspect, and so planetarily swift the ever-contracting circles he made, that he seemed horizontally swooping upon them.
    Chapters 133-135 -- The Chase--First Day; The Chase--Second Day; The Chase--Third Day (21% in)
  • Round and round, then, and ever contracting towards the button-like black bubble at the axis of that slowly wheeling circle, like another Ixion I did revolve.
    Epilogue (47% in)

There are no more uses of "contract" in Moby Dick.

Typical Usage  (best examples)
Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary list — Onelook.com®