I am looking for the word to use when saying the opposite of expanded/expand/expansion. Here is an example of how I want to use the word:

In the summer the wood expanded, now it is winter and the wood (________).

Also, if there are other antonyms for expand, please let me know.

  • 2
    Contracted/contract/contraction or shrank/shrink/shrinking ought to work. I can hear my father explaining, "Wood expands when it is moist and then, when the air is dry, it shrinks." – Michael Owen Sartin Dec 6 '13 at 15:52


The wood contracted.

See the second definition.

v.intr. 1. To enter into or make an agreement: contract for garbage collection. 2. To become reduced in size by or as if by being drawn together: The pupils of the patient's eyes contracted.

=== edit Added antonyms and usage ===

For other opposites, try http://www.synonym.com/antonyms/expanded/.

Antonym of contract (Sense 9) =>abridge, foreshorten, abbreviate, shorten, cut, contract, reduce"

Here, I'm using expanded and its antonym as a transitive verb.

He expanded/abridged his novel.

She expanded/foreshortened her perspective.

He expanded/abbreviated his speech.

She expanded/shortened her trip.

They expanded/cut her research budget.

Here, I'm using expanded and its antonym as an intransitive verb

The bridge expanded/contracted as the temperature changed.

His waistline expanded/reduced with exercise.


In computer applications design, we usually use components that have an accordion behavior. In that sense, we call the opposite of expand as collapse.

You can see an example of that behavior here.

  • "collapse" has a very different meaning when used with physical objects; Consider the wood shrank vs. the wood collapsed (or try replacing "wood" with "bridge"). While it's appropriate in your computing domain, it's not suitable for the question's stated need. – Hellion Apr 9 '15 at 16:14
  • I thought it might answer the "Also if there are other antonyms for expand please let me know" part of the OP question. – Rafael Eyng Apr 9 '15 at 18:44
  • 1
    Fair enough, I overlooked that bit. :-) – Hellion Apr 9 '15 at 18:53

The opposite of expand is compress
I got this because expand is to let out and compress means to press together

  • Thanks for the answer and welcome to the site. It is helpful to add a dictionary definition to an answer to show how it fits. In your example, you may find that compress is an action done upon something else rather than an reaction to something that happens. – Keeta - reinstate Monica Sep 25 '18 at 16:42

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