"an agreement between persons or parties," early 15c., from Old French pacte "agreement, treaty, compact" (14c.) and directly from Latin pactum "agreement, contract, covenant," noun use of neuter past participle of pacisci "to covenant, to agree, make a treaty," from PIE root *pag- "to fasten." Related: Paction "act of making a pact."
1640s, "to shake or disturb by violent, irregular action" (transitive); 1680s, "to draw or contract spasmodically or involuntarily" (intransitive); from Latin convulsus, past participle of convellere (transitive only) "to pull away, to pull this way and that, wrench," hence "to weaken, overthrow, destroy," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + vellere "to pluck, pull violently" (see svelte). Related: Convulsed (1630s); convulsing.
"act of binding close or constricting," especially contraction by applications, 1560s, from Latin astrictionem (nominative astrictio) "a power of contracting," noun of action from past-participle stem of astringere "to bind fast, tighten, contract," from assimilated form of ad "to" (see ad-) + stringere "draw tight" (see strain (v.)). Related: Astrictive (1550s). As verbs, astrict is from 1510s; astringe from 1520s.
1744, in medicine, "pertaining or relating to spasm; spasmodic," from Latin spasticus, from Greek spastikos "afflicted with spasms," also ""pulling in, slurping in;" etymologically "drawing, pulling, stretching," from span "to draw (a sword, etc.), pull out, pluck; tear away, drag; suck in; slurp down; contract violently" (see spasm (n.)).
The noun meaning "a person affected with spastic paralysis" is attested from 1896, used insultingly by 1960s. Related: Spastically; spasticity.
"to beat or throb (as the heart or a blood vessel); contract and dilate in alternation or rhythmically," 1741, a back-formation from pulsation, or else from Latin pulsatus, past participle of pulsare "to beat against, strike upon," frequentative of pellere (past participle pulsus) "to beat, strike" (from PIE root *pel- (5) "to thrust, strike, drive"). Related: Pulsated; pulsating; pulsatile.
1825, "to bite, crush with or as with the teeth," intensive form of crunch (v.); ultimately imitative (see scr-). The colloquial meaning "to squeeze, crush" is by 1835 (implied in scrunched). The intransitive sense of "contract oneself into a more compact shape" is by 1884. Related: Scrunching. As a noun, "noise made by scrunching," by 1857; as an adjective, scrunchy is attested by 1905.
early 15c., severaunce, "distinction, difference," also, of apprentices, "release from previous obligations," from Anglo-French, from Old French sevrance "separation, parting," from sevrer "to separate" (see sever). From mid-15c. as "act or fact of severing; state of being severed." The modern sense of "discharge from contract employment" is attested from 1941, probably an extension from modern legal use. Severance pay attested by 1942.