Definition -
(1) (noun) A shortened form of a word, especially one that uses an apostrophe.
(2) (verb) The act of contracting a word or a syllable, etc.

Example -
I can't stand the word don't.

Etymology -
The word derives via French from the Latin contrahere, to draw together.

Oxford English Dictionary -

(1) The first citation for the noun is from 1755:
(Johnson s.v.) "The writing is full of contractions."
(2) The first citation for the verb is from 1706:
(Phillips, The New World of Words (ed. Kersey) s.v) "A Contraction of Syllables."

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