"alternately contracting and dilating," 1670s, from Late Latin systalticus, from Greek systaltikos "drawing together," from stem of systellein, related to systole (see systole).
1540s, "binding, contracting," from Latin astringentum (nominative astringens), present participle of astringere "to bind fast, tighten, contract," from assimilated form of ad "to" (see ad-) + stringere "draw tight" (see strain (v.)). Related: Astringently; astringency. As a noun from 1620s, "an astringent substance, something which contracts tissues and thereby checks discharge of blood."
"tending to constrict or compress," c. 1400, from Late Latin constrictivus "drawing together, contracting," from Latin constrict-, past-participle stem of constringere "to bind together, tie tightly, fetter, shackle, chain," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + stringere "to draw tight" (see strain (v.)).
"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.
"short-sightedness," 1727, medical Latin, from Late Greek myōpia "near-sightedness," from myōps "near-sighted," literally "closing the eyes, blinking," on the notion of "squinting, contracting the eyes" (as near-sighted people do), from myein "to shut" (see mute (adj.)) + ōps (genitive ōpos) "eye" (from PIE root *okw- "to see"). By coincidence the name describes the problem: the parallel rays of light are brought to a focus before they reach the retina.
"of or pertaining to the involuntary muscular movements of the hollow organs of the body," especially the alimentary canal, 1650s, from Modern Latin, from Greek peristaltikos (Galen), literally "contracting around," from peri "around, about" (see peri-) + stalsis "checking, constriction," related to stellein "draw in, bring together; set in order," from PIE *stel-yo-, suffixed form of root *stel- "to put, stand, put in order," with derivatives referring to a standing object or place.
late 14c., "to draw into a smaller compass, become smaller, shrink" (intransitive); early 15c. "make an agreement, enter into a contract, agree or establish to undertake mutually," from Old French contracter and directly from Latin contractus, past participle of contrahere "to draw several objects together; draw in, shorten, lessen, abridge," metaphorically "make a bargain, make an agreement," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + trahere "to draw" (see tract (n.1)). Related: Contracted; contracting.
Meaning "to acquire as by habit or contagion, become infected with" is from 1590s. Transitive sense of "make narrow, draw together the parts (of something) to cause it to shrink" is from c. 1600. Grammatical sense of "to shorten (a word or syllable) by combining or eliding concurrent elements" is from c. 1600. Transitive sense of "arrange for by contract" is from 1897.
"marriage with more than one spouse," 1590s, from Late Latin polygamia, from Late Greek polygamia "polygamy," from polygamos "often married," from polys "many" (see poly-) + gamos "marriage" (see gamete). The word is not etymologically restricted to marriage of one man and multiple women (technically polygyny), but often used as if it were. Related: Polygamist; polygamize.
In Christian countries, when a man has more wives than one, or a woman more husbands than one, at the same time, he or she is punishable for polygamy ; but if there was a separate marriage with each the first marriage would be valid notwithstanding the subsequent ones, and the later ones would be void. The offense of contracting the subsequent marriage is now termed bigamy. But polygamy in the form of polygyny is allowed in some countries, especially among Mohammedans, and was held a matter of faith and duty by the Mormons. [Century Dictionary, 1895]