con·​tact | \ ˈkän-ˌtakt \

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, 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 \

Definition of contact (Entry 3 of 3)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for contact

Synonyms: Noun


Synonyms: Verb

address, communicate (with), get, reach

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In June, Zayn told GQ that the two were still friends and in contact with each other. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik Have Reportedly Broken Up for the Second Time," 3 Jan. 2019 Blind trusts are usually run by independent figures, and Trump is clearly in regular contact with his children. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Why the government shutdown is good legal news for Trump," 27 Dec. 2018 The Deadpool star is notoriously hilarious, regularly (and expertly) trolling himself, his brilliant and beautiful wife, Blake Lively, and just about anyone else who comes in contact with him on Instagram. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Ryan Reynolds Falls for a Prank Pulled by Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal," 22 Dec. 2018 After failing to get in contact with Amazon about the issue, the man brought the files to c’t, where reporters were able to piece together who the Alexa user was. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Amazon sent 1,700 Alexa voice recordings to the wrong user following data request," 20 Dec. 2018 For the adventurous drinker, go with this white wine that was left in contact with its skins. Kristin Tice Studeman, Vogue, "The Best Wine for Every Thanksgiving Scenario," 19 Nov. 2018 The Virginia Department of Health is investigating how Killy contracted the disease and all who came in contact with the baby, including the other children at the day care, have been given a preventive dose of antibiotics, according to WTVR. Natalie Dreier, ajc, "Baby dies from meningitis, parents issue warning," 12 July 2018 Audrey taught those around her by example and those who came in contact with her learned from her keen financial management skills., "Keith and Audrey Dubay," 12 July 2018 All of these smart assistants can do things Pat did, like pull up your contacts to call or text someone, and even recognize your voice. Alyssa Fiorentino, House Beautiful, "How Does Disney's Smart House Compare To Today's Smart Home Technology?," 7 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Der Spiegel said Thursday that while the magazine thoroughly fact checks its stories, contacting sources for verification isn’t part of its standard procedure. Sara Germano, WSJ, "Journalist at Center of False-Reporting Scandal Faces New Allegations Over Donation Requests," 23 Dec. 2018 Giuliani’s verbal gymnastics suggest Trump hasn’t been forthcoming about his Russia contacts with the public; his own part; and, perhaps most important, Robert Mueller. Aaron Rupar, Vox, "Trump’s lawyer isn’t exactly denying that Trump had foreknowledge of WikiLeaks dumps," 17 Dec. 2018 Their parents were contacted and the teens were brought to the police department for processing. Fernando Alfonso Iii, Houston Chronicle, "Vandals cause more than $7,000 in damages to Friendswood High School," 12 July 2018 The issue was finally resolved on Dec. 14, the same day the business traveler contacted Hilton via Twitter to air his complaint. Aisha Al-muslim, WSJ, "Hilton Honors Members Complain About Missing Points," 21 Dec. 2018 Advocacy is about contacting ICE and reaching out to ICE and trying to appeal to them through policy means — and also to leverage the public’s outrage. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "Penn Badgley Is Teaming Up With the Tahirih Justice Center to Help Vilma Carrillo, an Immigrant Mom Separated From Her Daughter," 21 Dec. 2018 Thanks to platforms like Twitter and Instagram, fans can contact their favorite celebrities directly and publicly—and said celebrities can answer, directly and publicly as well, which Chrissy Teigen frequently offers a masterclass in. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Why "Comments by Chrissy Teigen" Is the Underrated Celebrity Instagram Account You Should Be Following," 17 Dec. 2018 Amazon’s Staten Island fulfillment center just opened its doors this fall, but the RWDSU has been quick to meet workers in person and contact them over social media. Jon Porter, The Verge, "Amazon warehouse workers push to unionize in NYC," 12 Dec. 2018 After contacting Airbnb, the host was permanently removed from the platform. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Airbnb Threatens to Ban 'Unite the Right' Rally Attendees," 10 Aug. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about contact

Statistics for contact

Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for contact

The first known use of contact was in 1626

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


important, real, or meaningful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!