Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1500-1600
Language: Latin
Origin: contractus, past participle of contrahere 'to pull together, make a contract, make smaller', from com- ( COM-) + trahere 'to pull'

contract

2 verb
     
con‧tract2
1 [intransitive] to become smaller or narrower [≠ expand]:
Metal contracts as it cools.
The economy has contracted by 2.5% since last year.
2 [transitive] formalMI to get an illness:
Two-thirds of the adult population there has contracted AIDS.
3BB [intransitive and transitive] to sign a contract in which you agree formally that you will do something or someone will do something for you
contract (somebody) to do something
They are contracted to work 35 hours a week.
the company that had been contracted to build the models
contract (with) somebody for something
Doctors control their budgets and contract with hospitals for services.
contract a marriage/alliance etc (=agree to marry someone, form a relationship with them etc)
Most of the marriages were contracted when the brides were very young.

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