contact

1 of 3

noun

con·​tact ˈkän-ˌtakt How to pronounce contact (audio)
1
a
: 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.
2
a
: 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.

contact

2 of 3

verb

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

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

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

contact

3 of 3

adjective

con·​tact ˈkän-ˌtakt How to pronounce contact (audio)
: maintaining, involving, or activated or caused by contact
contact poisons
contact sports
contact dermatitis

Examples of contact in a Sentence

Noun 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. Verb For more information, contact the city's tourism office. We were able to contact them by radio. She contacted everyone on the list. Adjective Ice hockey is a contact sport.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Conway’s wife barred her from contact with her daughters. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 12 June 2024 But most of those contacts are not yielding meaningful conversations or connections. Dina Kaur, The Arizona Republic, 12 June 2024
Verb
The company says owners should contact their local dealer instead of driving the vehicle there. Ahjané Forbes, The Courier-Journal, 12 June 2024 Thierry contacted the personnel department but received no response, the lawsuit claimed. Ethan Baron, The Mercury News, 11 June 2024
Adjective
Industries with traditionally late, or erratic hours, or those that require workers to be on-call, would still be allowed to contact workers as long as non-contact hours are clearly stated in worker contracts, or on-call time is compensated. Matt Novak / Gizmodo, Quartz, 2 Apr. 2024 The most common injuries in football are strains and sprains, which happen in both contact and non-contact settings, along with dislocations, fractures and concussions. Mary Whitfill Roeloffs, Forbes, 13 Nov. 2023 See all Example Sentences for contact 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'contact.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

borrowed from French & Latin; French, going back to Middle French, borrowed from Latin contāctus "touching, joining of surfaces, association," from contag-, variant stem of contingere "to be in contact with, arrive at, affect, fall to one's lot" + -tus, suffix of action nouns — more at contingent entry 1

Verb

derivative of contact entry 1

Adjective

derivative of contact entry 1

First Known Use

Noun

1626, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1834, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Adjective

1859, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of contact was in 1626

Dictionary Entries Near contact

Cite this Entry

“Contact.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/contact. Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

contact

1 of 3 noun
con·​tact ˈkän-ˌtakt How to pronounce contact (audio)
1
: a meeting or touching of surfaces
2
: the connection of two electrical conductors through which a current passes or a part made for such a connection
3
: a person one knows who has influence especially in the business or political world
our contacts in Los Angeles may be able to assist you
4
: an establishing of communication especially with someone or something distant
make contact by radio
5

contact

2 of 3 verb
con·​tact ˈkän-ˌtakt How to pronounce contact (audio)
kən-ˈtakt
1
: to bring or come into contact
2
: to get in touch or communication with
contact your local dealer for details

contact

3 of 3 adjective
con·​tact ˈkän-ˌtakt How to pronounce contact (audio)
: involving or acting upon contact
football and ice hockey are contact sports
contact insecticides
Etymology

Noun

from French contact or Latin contactus, both meaning "a touching of body surfaces," from Latin contingere "to have contact with, affect, happen," from con-, com- "with, together" and tangere "to touch" — related to contagious, contingent, tangent, tangible

Medical Definition

contact

1 of 2 noun
con·​tact ˈkän-ˌtakt How to pronounce contact (audio)
1
: union or junction of body surfaces
sexual contact
2
a
: 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
4

contact

2 of 2 adjective
: caused or transmitted by direct or indirect contact (as with an allergen or a contagious disease)
a contact allergy

More from Merriam-Webster on contact

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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