‘Contract’ has two meanings that appear to be unrelated. However, if we go back to the origins of the word, we can see the two meanings.
Today ‘contract’ can mean an official document that has legal status and it can also mean to become smaller.
- We signed the contract for the new house today.
- Metal contracts in the cold weather.
If we look at the origins of the word ‘contract’ we can see that it comes from middle English (1100 – 1500) and that it meant ‘drawn together’ or ‘tightened.’ And you can see how that has come to mean ‘to become smaller’ and also you can see that in a legal contract all of the relevant information is ‘drawn together.’ So there is a relationship between the two meanings if we look at the history of the word.
Collocations: When you learn new vocab, make sure that you note collocations too. For this group of words some collocations are:
context of, in context
to sign a contract, contraction of
database, relevant data
Check the meanings of the words if you don’t already know them. Check the meanings of the various forms as sometimes they are different. You can check them at Time4english by clicking the words (http://www.time4english.com/aamain/lounge/awl.asp).
Complete the sentences . Choose the correct word and then choose the correct form of the word to complete each sentence.
1.Children can sometimes find very _______________ solutions to problems. (context, create)
2.Metal _______________ in cold conditions. (create, contract)
3.The doctor said he has a strong _______________, and could live until he is 100. (constitute, contract)
4.When doing fill-the-gap exercises like this you need to use _______________ clues. (context, data)
5.If you provide the information, I’ll ______________ the website for you. (constitute, create)
Answers (in the wrong order)
4. Contextual 3. constitution 1. creative 5. create 2. contracts