contract ( contracts plural & 3rd person present) ( contracting present participle) ( contracted past tense & past participle )
The noun is pronounced kɒntrækt. The verb is pronounced kəntrækt.
1 n-count A contract is a legal agreement, usually between two companies or between an employer and employee, which involves doing work for a stated sum of money.
The company won a prestigious contract for work on Europe's tallest building..., He was given a seven-year contract with an annual salary of $150,000.
2 verb If you contractwith someone to do something, you legally agree to do it for them or for them to do it for you.
FORMAL You can contract with us to deliver your cargo... V with n to-inf
The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has already contracted to lease part of its collection to a museum in Japan. V to-inf
3 verb When something contracts or when something contracts it, it becomes smaller or shorter.
Blood is only expelled from the heart when it contracts... V
New research shows that an excess of meat and salt can contract muscles. V n
contraction ( contractions plural) n-var
...the contraction and expansion of blood vessels..., Foods and fluids are mixed in the stomach by its muscular contractions.
4 verb When something such as an economy or market contracts, it becomes smaller.
The manufacturing economy contracted in October for the sixth consecutive month. V
5 verb If you contract a serious illness, you become ill with it.
FORMAL no cont
He contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion... V n
Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer contracted by women. V-ed
6 verb If you contract a marriage, alliance, or other relationship with someone, you arrange to have that relationship with them.
She contracted a formal marriage to a British ex-serviceman. V n
7 n-count If there is a contracton a person or on their life, someone has made an arrangement to have them killed.
INFORMAL usu N on n
The convictions resulted in the local crime bosses putting a contract on him...
8 If you are under contractto someone, you have signed a contract agreeing to work for them, and for no-one else, during a fixed period of time.
under contract phrase oft PHR to n
The director wanted Olivia de Havilland, then under contract to Warner Brothers. contract out
1 phrasal verb If a company contracts out work, they employ other companies to do it. (BUSINESS)
Firms can contract out work to one another... V P n (not pron) to n
When Barclays Bank contracted out its cleaning, the new company was cheaper. V P n (not pron)
...the trend of contracting services out rather than performing them in-house. V n P, Also V n P to n, V P
2 phrasal verb If a person or group contracts outof a system or scheme, they formally say that they do not want to take part in it. (BRIT) Employees can contract out of their employer's occupational pension scheme. V P of n ...a free deal which automatically converts into a pay as-you-go service unless you contract out. V P
contraction ( contractions plural )
1 n-count When a woman who is about to give birth has contractions, she experiences a very strong, painful tightening of the muscles of her womb.
2 n-count A contraction is a shortened form of a word or words.
`It's' (with an apostrophe) should be used only as a contraction for `it is'.