1 an instance of contracting or the state of being contracted
2 (Physiol) any normal shortening or tensing of an organ or part, esp. of a muscle, e.g. during childbirth
3 (Pathol) any abnormal tightening or shrinking of an organ or part
4 a shortening of a word or group of words, often marked in written English by an apostrophe I've come for I have come
n (Physics) the contraction that a moving body exhibits when its velocity approaches that of light
(C19: named after G. F. Fitzgerald (1851--1901), Irish physicist and H. A. Lorentz)
n the supposed contraction of a body in the direction of its motion through the ether, postulated to explain the result of the Michelson-Morley experiment. The special theory of relativity denies that any such real change can occur in a body as a result of uniform motion but shows that an observer moving with respect to the body will determine an apparent change given by a formula similar to that of Lorentz and Fitzgerald
(C20: named after H. A. Lorentz and G. F. Fitzgerald (1851--1901), Irish physicist)
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"Collins English Dictionary 5th Edition first published in 2000 © HarperCollins Publishers 1979, 1986, 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000 and Collins A-Z Thesaurus 1st edition first published in 1995 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995"