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

Any animal that comes in contact with the poison pellets themselves will be impacted. Fox News, "US may dump over 1.5 tons of rat poison on Farallon Islands to halt invasive rodents," 8 July 2019 Day’s family, most of whom live in California and weren’t in regular contact with him or Caswell, joined the search., "A Mouseketeer mystery: Dennis Day’s extraordinary life and heartbreaking death," 6 July 2019 Erik Heimer, who has stayed in close contact with Flores’ family as a victim liaison since his death. Hasiten Willis, ajc, "Memorial garden honors first Latino police officer killed in Atlanta," 5 July 2019 Dustin has finally managed to get in contact using his walkie-talkie, but its low batteries prevent him from being able to fully explain the situation. Kathryn Lindsay,, "R29 Binge Club: Stranger Things Season 3," 5 July 2019 Investigators have been in contact with some witnesses and are requesting that anyone who has information to call CrimeStoppers at (855) TIP-OCCS (855-847-6227) or visit to submit a tip online. Piper Mcdaniel,, "91 Freeway partly closed in Anaheim after a shooting involving a police officer," 5 July 2019 Little can be done to extend the life span of a liquid formula, since the applicator tip is in constant contact with your eyes and can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria. Jolene Edgar,, "When to Throw Away Your Makeup, According to a Dermatologist," 2 July 2019 It is usually contracted when an open wound comes into contact with coastal saltwater. NBC News, "What to know about flesh-eating bacteria infections," 1 July 2019 Individuals who come in contact with livestock should take off shoes or clothing to avoid infecting environments, such their homes. Peter Dawson, Houston Chronicle, "CDC releases warning for 'crypto' fecal parasite in swimming pools," 1 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Anyone who saw the fire or other activity that looked out of place between 10 p.m. Thursday and 1 a.m. Friday, is asked to contact West Haven police at 203-937-3900, Det. Christine Dempsey,, "West Haven police looking for information about person who set dog on fire, pickup truck," 9 July 2019 Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Pasadena mother shot in head during drive-by shooting reportedly dies," 8 July 2019 Anyone with information is asked to contact the Antioch police at 925-778-2441 or text a tip to 274637 using the key word Antioch. Michael Cabanatuan,, "Antioch police seek man in car shooting," 7 July 2019 Anyone with information about the Jennifer Harris case is asked to contact the Fannin County Sheriff's Office at 903-583-2143. CBS News, "Unsolved murder case is the talk of small Texas town 17 years later," 6 July 2019 Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at or contact him at 480-787-1240. Duane Rankin, azcentral, "High school football: Can Gilbert Perry finally beat Chandler and win 6A state title?," 5 July 2019 Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Worcester Police Detective Bureau at 508-799-8651. Laura Barcella,, "Railroad Engineer Finds 9-Month-Old Twin Boys Abandoned in Stroller Near Mass. Train Tracks," 5 July 2019 Around May 30, Bennett returned from an out-of-town excursion as his sisters planned his funeral, prompting one sister to ask the funeral home to contact police so the body could be taken to the Cook County Morgue. Darran Simon, CNN, "Chicago families sue after a case of mistaken identity allowed a man to be taken off life support," 4 July 2019 Anyone who saw Ramirez during her bike ride or has any information about how she was injured is asked to contact detectives at 407-254-7000, ext. Karina Elwood,, "Woman who went for bike ride lands in coma, dies. Orange detectives want to know what happened," 3 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

11 Jul 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).


a small bunch of flowers

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