con·​tact | \ ˈkän-ˌtakt How to pronounce contact (audio) \

Definition of contact

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : union or junction of surfaces Cooling begins when the lava makes contact with the air.
b : the apparent touching or mutual tangency of the limbs of two celestial bodies or of the disk of one body with the shadow of another during an eclipse, transit, or occultation
c(1) : the junction of two electrical conductors through which a current passes
(2) : a special part made for such a junction The camera's flash wasn't working because the electrical contacts needed to be cleaned.
2a : association, relationship students and teachers in daily contact
b : connection, communication I lost contact with her years ago.
c : an establishing of communication with someone or an observing or receiving of a significant signal from a person or object radar contact with Mars
3 : a person serving as a go-between, messenger, connection, or source of special information business contacts
4 : contact lens She wears contacts more often than glasses.


con·​tact | \ ˈkän-ˌtakt How to pronounce contact (audio) , kən-ˈtakt\
contacted; contacting; contacts

Definition of contact (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to make contact the point at which the two surfaces contact

transitive verb

1 : to bring into contact
2a : to enter or be in contact with : join The spark contacted the gunpowder.
b : to get in communication with Contact your local dealer.


con·​tact | \ ˈkän-ˌtakt How to pronounce contact (audio) \

Definition of contact (Entry 3 of 3)

: maintaining, involving, or activated or caused by contact contact poisons contact sports contact dermatitis

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Synonyms for contact

Synonyms: Noun


Synonyms: Verb

address, communicate (with), get, reach

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Is contact a verb?: Usage Guide


The use of contact as a verb, especially in sense 2b, is accepted as standard by almost all commentators except those who write college handbooks.

Examples of contact in a Sentence


Physical contact between a mother and child is very important. a disease that is spread by sexual contact Contacts between the two leaders have been frequent in recent weeks. I applied for a job at that law firm because I have a contact there.


For more information, contact the city's tourism office. We were able to contact them by radio. She contacted everyone on the list.


Ice hockey is a contact sport.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Anti-Semitic hate crimes against persons, which describes nearly everything involving physical contact, jumped from 17 in 2017 to 33 in 2018, with the number for the first half of 2019 standing at 19, according to the NYPD’s hate crime unit. . . . Seth Mandel, Twin Cities, "Seth Mandel: Al Sharpton is not a lifelong fighter for justice," 2 Aug. 2019 Upon making contact, the suspect and another teen on a bicycle fled from officers. Cheryl Higley,, "Man found unconscious in his yard: Avon Lake police botter," 2 Aug. 2019 As season 3 revealed, Jack lied to his family by telling them Nicky died in the war, and viewers saw Jack sneak off to visit him a few times before cutting off all contact. Dan Snierson,, "This Is Us star Milo Ventimiglia on post-war Jack in season 4: 'Grenades are still going off'," 31 July 2019 Alphabet’s Verily arm has focused on ambitious projects like nanoparticles that deliver drugs and smart contact lenses. Tom Simonite, WIRED, "Alphabet’s AI Might Be Able to Predict Kidney Disease," 31 July 2019 The contacts—which are actually soft robots—feature five electrodes per lens. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "These Contact Lenses Zoom In and Out with the (Double) Blink of an Eye," 29 July 2019 All outside visits are non-contact, with prisoners separated from their visitors by a glass screen. Kirk Mitchell, The Denver Post, "Colorado’s Supermax prison now occupied by El Chapo is “worse than death,” ex-warden said," 27 July 2019 Between April and June, City Net workers in Newport made 141 contacts, engaged 35 people in formal case management and moved eight people off the streets, organization Vice President Matt Bates told the task force. Hillary Davis, Daily Pilot, "Newport Beach locals express sympathy for the homeless on their streets, but say enforcement still needed," 23 July 2019 Kitsap County closed three beaches to water contact, as modeling showed sewage would likely reach the beaches. Asia Fields, The Seattle Times, "3 million gallons of untreated sewage spill into Puget Sound, state officials investigating," 22 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Brown said that before the deputy went to the house, both the alarm company and 911 dispatchers tried to contact the homeowner, but were unable to. NBC News, "Graphic body-camera video shows South Carolina deputy shoot man inside his own home," 30 July 2019 Mueller himself did try to contact Trump for an interview for more than a year, but the president always refused. Christian Holub,, "Late-night hosts react to Robert Mueller's congressional testimony," 25 July 2019 Shegerian remained uncooperative with police but days later, on April 12, 2013, a police detective, Ryan Peters, contacted her parents. Julia Sclafani, Daily Pilot, "Ex-wife says she was ‘terrified’ of her husband, who is accused of kidnapping, torture and mutilation," 25 July 2019 When a forum attendee expressed concern with fire hazards caused by debris behind the condominiums on Nickel Creek Drive, Long said Garcia can contact the property owner and request a cleanup. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "County staff share guidelines for cleaning creek," 25 July 2019 Any affected passengers will be contacted by the airline and will be offered a refund or can be rebooked through LaGuardia or MacArthur Airport on Long Island. Jessica Puckett, Condé Nast Traveler, "Southwest Airlines Will No Longer Fly Out of Newark Due to 737 Max Grounding," 25 July 2019 Marie Claire has contacted Marcus Hyde for comment. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "Ariana Grande Spoke Out After a Celebrity Photographer Pressured a Model for Nudes," 23 July 2019 There's also another message for anyone else who is trying to contact him. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Murray Bauman's Phone Number in "Stranger Things" Season 3 Gives a Huge Season 4 Clue," 16 July 2019 Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at or contact him at 480-787-1240. Duane Rankin, azcentral, "Top 5 NBA duos: No. 1 Lakers' James-Davis, Nets' Durant-Irving, Clippers' Leonard-George?," 22 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Contact neighborhoods reporter Ruth Serven at Ruth Serven, Indianapolis Star, "Indy tightens rules to force landlords to clean up trashy houses, but realty agents say it won't matter," 10 July 2017 Sunday brunch from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Contact 847-549-1972 or Shonda Talerico Dudlicek, Lake County News-Sun, "Libertyville's Austin Saloon adapts with owners' life changes," 20 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contact.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of contact


1626, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1834, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


1859, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for contact

Noun, Verb, and Adjective

French or Latin; French, from Latin contactus, from contingere to have contact with — more at contingent

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Learn More about contact

Statistics for contact

Last Updated

8 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for contact

The first known use of contact was in 1626

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More Definitions for contact



English Language Learners Definition of contact

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: the state or condition that exists when two people or things physically touch each other : a state of touching
: the state or condition that exists when people see and communicate with each other
: an occurrence in which people communicate with each other



English Language Learners Definition of contact (Entry 2 of 3)

: to call or write to (someone or something) : to communicate with (someone or something)



English Language Learners Definition of contact (Entry 3 of 3)

sports : allowing players to touch or hit each other
: acting when physical contact occurs


con·​tact | \ ˈkän-ˌtakt How to pronounce contact (audio) \

Kids Definition of contact

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a meeting or touching of persons or things
2 : communication with other people Have you been in contact with her? He has no outside contact.
3 : a person someone knows who serves as a connection especially in the business or political world I've got contacts in the company.


contacted; contacting

Kids Definition of contact (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : to touch or make touch physically
2 : to get in touch or communication with



Kids Definition of contact (Entry 3 of 3)

: involving or activated by physical interaction contact sports contact poisons


con·​tact | \ ˈkän-ˌtakt How to pronounce contact (audio) \

Medical Definition of contact

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : union or junction of body surfaces sexual contact
2a : the junction of two electrical conductors through which a current passes
b : a special part that has been made for such a junction
3 : direct experience through the senses loss of contact with reality



Medical Definition of contact (Entry 2 of 2)

: caused or transmitted by direct or indirect contact (as with an allergen or a contagious disease) a contact allergy

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More from Merriam-Webster on contact

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with contact

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for contact

Spanish Central: Translation of contact

Nglish: Translation of contact for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of contact for Arabic Speakers

Comments on contact

What made you want to look up contact? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


of or relating to the heavens

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