1. To draw together or nearer; to reduce to a less compass; to shorten, narrow, or lessen; as, to contract one's sphere of action.
"In all things desuetude doth contract and narrow our faculties. Dr. H. More." --
2. To draw together so as to wrinkle; to knit.
"Thou didst contract and purse thy brow. Shak." --
3. To bring on; to incur; to acquire; as, to contract a habit; to contract a debt; to contract a disease.
"Each from each contract new strength and light. Pope." --
"Such behavior we contract by having much conversed with persons of high station. Swift." --
4. To enter into, with mutual obligations; to make a bargain or covenant for.
"We have contracted an inviolable amity, peace, and lague with the aforesaid queen. Hakluyt." --
"Many persons . . . had contracted marriage within the degrees of consanguinity . . . prohibited by law. Strype." --
5. To betroth; to affiance.
"The truth is, she and I, long since contracted, Are now so sure, that nothing can dissolve us. Shak." --
6. (Gram.) To shorten by omitting a letter or letters or by reducing two or more vowels or syllables to one.
Syn. -- To shorten; abridge; epitomize; narrow; lessen; condense; reduce; confine; incur; assume.