Etymology
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contract (v.)

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.

contract (n.)

early 14c., "agreement between two or more persons to do or not do some particular thing," originally especially of marriage, from Old French contract (Modern French contrat), from Latin contractus "a drawing together, a shrinking; a contract, an agreement," from 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)).

In reference to the writing which contains the agreement and its terms and conditions, 1610s. U.S. underworld sense of "arrangement to kill someone" first recorded 1940.

updated on March 16, 2018

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Definitions of contract from WordNet
1
contract (v.)
enter into a contractual arrangement;
Synonyms: undertake
contract (v.)
engage by written agreement;
Synonyms: sign / sign on / sign up
contract (v.)
squeeze or press together;
the spasm contracted the muscle
contract (v.)
be stricken by an illness, fall victim to an illness;
Synonyms: take / get
contract (v.)
become smaller or draw together;
Synonyms: shrink
contract (v.)
make smaller;
The heat contracted the woollen garment
contract (v.)
compress or concentrate;
Synonyms: condense / concentrate
contract (v.)
make or become more narrow or restricted;
Synonyms: narrow
contract (v.)
reduce in scope while retaining essential elements;
2
contract (n.)
a binding agreement between two or more persons that is enforceable by law;
contract (n.)
(contract bridge) the highest bid becomes the contract setting the number of tricks that the bidder must make;
Synonyms: declaration
contract (n.)
a variety of bridge in which the bidder receives points toward game only for the number of tricks he bid;
Synonyms: contract bridge
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.