1. an agreement between two or more parties for the doing or not doing of something specified.
  2. an agreement enforceable by law.
  3. the written form of such an agreement.
  4. the division of law dealing with contracts.
  5. Also called contract bridge. a variety of bridge in which the side that wins the bid can earn toward game only that number of tricks named in the contract, additional points being credited above the line.Compare auction bridge.
  6. (in auction or contract bridge)
    1. a commitment by the declarer and his or her partner to take six tricks plus the number specified by the final bid made.
    2. the final bid itself.
    3. the number of tricks so specified, plus six.
  7. the formal agreement of marriage; betrothal.
  8. Slang. an arrangement for a hired assassin to kill a specific person.


  1. under contract; governed or arranged by special contract: a contract carrier.

verb (used with object)

  1. to draw together or into smaller compass; draw the parts of together: to contract a muscle.
  2. to wrinkle: to contract the brows.
  3. to shorten (a word, phrase, etc.) by combining or omitting some of its elements: Contracting “do not” yields “don’t.”
  4. to get or acquire, as by exposure to something contagious: to contract a disease.
  5. to incur, as a liability or obligation: to contract a debt.
  6. to settle or establish by agreement: to contract an alliance.
  7. to assign (a job, work, project, etc.) by contract: The publisher contracted the artwork.
  8. to enter into an agreement with: to contract a free-lancer to do the work.
  9. to enter into (friendship, acquaintance, etc.).
  10. to betroth.

verb (used without object)

  1. to become drawn together or reduced in compass; become smaller; shrink: The pupils of his eyes contracted in the light.
  2. to enter into an agreement: to contract for snow removal.

Verb Phrases

  1. contract out, to hire an outside contractor to produce or do.


  1. put out a contract on, Slang. to hire or attempt to hire an assassin to kill (someone): The mob put out a contract on the informer.

verb (kənˈtrækt)

  1. to make or become smaller, narrower, shorter, etcmetals contract as the temperature is reduced
  2. (ˈkɒntrækt) (when intr, sometimes foll by for; when tr, may take an infinitive) to enter into an agreement with (a person, company, etc) to deliver (goods or services) or to do (something) on mutually agreed and binding terms, often in writing
  3. to draw or be drawn together; coalesce or cause to coalesce
  4. (tr) to acquire, incur, or become affected by (a disease, liability, debt, etc)
  5. (tr) to shorten (a word or phrase) by the omission of letters or syllables, usually indicated in writing by an apostrophe
  6. phonetics to unite (two vowels) or (of two vowels) to be united within a word or at a word boundary so that a new long vowel or diphthong is formed
  7. (tr) to wrinkle or draw together (the brow or a muscle)
  8. (tr) to arrange (a marriage) for; betroth

noun (ˈkɒntrækt)

  1. a formal agreement between two or more parties
  2. a document that states the terms of such an agreement
  3. the branch of law treating of contracts
  4. marriage considered as a formal agreement
  5. See contract bridge
  6. bridge
    1. (in the bidding sequence before play) the highest bid, which determines trumps and the number of tricks one side must try to make
    2. the number and suit of these tricks
  7. slang
    1. a criminal agreement to kill a particular person in return for an agreed sum of money
    2. (as modifier)a contract killing

v.late 14c., “make narrow, draw together;” early 15c. “make an agreement;” from Middle French contracter, from Latin contractus, past participle of contrahere “to draw together, combine, make an agreement” (see contract (n.)). Related: Contracted; contracting. n.early 14c., from Old French contract (Modern French contrat), from Latin contractus “a contract, agreement,” from past participle of contrahere “to draw together,” metaphorically, “to make a bargain,” from com- “together” (see com-) + trahere “to draw” (see tract (n.1)). U.S. underworld sense of “arrangement to kill someone” first recorded 1940. v.

  1. To reduce in size by drawing together.
  2. To become reduced in size by or as if by being drawn together, as the pupil of the eye.
  3. To acquire or incur by contagion or infection.

A legally binding agreement between two or more parties.

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