Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of contract
Meaning of contract by Wiktionary Dictionary


    Etymology 1

    From Middle English, from Old French contract, from Latin contractum, past participle of contrahere ( “to bring together, to bring about, to conclude a bargain” ), from con- ( “with, together” ) + trahere ( “to draw, to pull” ) .


    • enPR: kŏn'trăkt
    • ( RP ) IPA: /ˈkɒntrækt/, X-SAMPA: /"kQntr{kt/
    • ( US ) IPA: /ˈkɑntrækt/, X-SAMPA: /"kAntr{kt/


    contract ( plural: contracts )

    1. An agreement between two or more parties, to perform a specific job or work order, often temporary or of fixed duration and usually governed by a written agreement .
    2. ( law ) An agreement which the law will enforce in some way. A legally binding contract must contain at least one promise, i.e., a commitment or offer, by an offeror to and accepted by an offeree to do something in the future. A contract is thus executory rather than executed .
    3. ( law ) A part of legal studies dealing with laws and jurisdiction related to contracts .
    4. ( informal ) An order, usually given to a hired assassin, to kill someone .
      The mafia boss put a contract out on the man who betrayed him .
    5. The declarer's undertaking to win the number of tricks bid with a stated suit as trump
    Derived terms

    Etymology 2

    From Middle English, from Middle French contracter, from Latin contractum, past participle of contrahere ( “to bring together, to bring about, to conclude a bargain” ), from con- ( “with, together” ) + trahere ( “to draw, to pull” ). the verb developed after the noun, and originally meant only "draw together"; the sense "make a contract with" developed later .


    • enPR: kəntrăkt, IPA: /kənˈtrækt/, X-SAMPA: /k@n"tr{kt/


    contract ( third-person singular simple present contracts present participle contracting, simple past and past participle contracted )

    1. ( intransitive ) To draw together or nearer; to shorten, narrow, or lessen .
      The snail's body contracted into its shell .
    2. ( transitive ) To enter into a contract with .
    3. ( transitive ) To gain or acquire ( an illness ) .

Explanation of contract by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. be stricken by an illness, fall victim to an illness

    2. become smaller or draw together

    3. reduce in scope while retaining essential elements

    4. make or become more narrow or restricted

    5. compress or concentrate

    6. enter into a contractual arrangement

    7. make smaller

    8. The heat contracted the woollen garment
    9. squeeze or press together

    10. the spasm contracted the muscle
    11. engage by written agreement

    1. a variety of bridge in which the bidder receives points toward game only for the number of tricks he bid

    2. a binding agreement between two or more persons that is enforceable by law

    3. the highest bid becomes the contract setting the number of tricks that the bidder must make

    Definition of contract by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Contract ( kŏntrăkt ), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Contracted; p. pr. & vb. n. Contracting.] [L. contractus, p. p. of contrahere to contract; con- + trahere to draw: cf. F. contracter. See Trace, and cf. Contract, n.]
      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.

    2. Contract ( kŏntrăkt ), v. i.
      1. To be drawn together so as to be diminished in size or extent; to shrink; to be reduced in compass or in duration; as, “iron contracts in cooling; a rope contracts when wet”.

      Years contracting to a moment. Wordsworth.

      2. To make an agreement; to covenant; to agree; to bargain; as, “to contract for carrying the mail”.

    3. Contract ( kŏntrăkt ), a. Contracted; as, “a contract verb”. Goodwin.

    4. Contract ( kŏntrăkt ), a. [L. contractus, p. p.] Contracted; affianced; betrothed. [Obs.] Shak.

    5. Contract ( kŏntrăkt ), n. [L. contractus, fr. contrahere: cf. F. contrat, formerly also contract.]
      1. ( Law ) The agreement of two or more persons, upon a sufficient consideration or cause, to do, or to abstain from doing, some act; an agreement in which a party undertakes to do, or not to do, a particular thing; a formal bargain; a compact; an interchange of legal rights. Wharton.

      2. A formal writing which contains the agreement of parties, with the terms and conditions, and which serves as a proof of the obligation.

      3. The act of formally betrothing a man and woman.

      This is the the night of the contract. Longwellow.

      Syn. -- Covenant; agreement; compact; stipulation; bargain; arrangement; obligation. See Covenant.