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A contraction was a shortened form of a word such as "can't" for "can not" or "isn't" for "is not". In slang, it was common to use improper contractions such as "ain't" instead of "isn't". (TNG: "A Fistful of Datas")
By 2367, Data still couldn't use contractions, which, among other things, made William T. Riker realize he wasn't in the year 2383, but instead in a simulation created by Barash. (TNG: "Future Imperfect")