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

The climbers set out May 13, but contact at base camp was lost May 26 following an avalanche. Fox News, "India reports problems in retrieving climbers' bodies," 9 June 2019 Chaos unfolded as customers tried for hours to get in contact with family members, employers and airline staff members to reschedule their flights. Alejandra Reyes-velarde,, "Malfunctioning backup power system led to LAX travel nightmare," 7 June 2019 Homer Glen has been in contact with private investors who are willing to contribute to the development of the sports complex. Michelle Mullins, Daily Southtown, "Homer Glen hires consultant to study if large sports complex would be a good fit in the village," 6 June 2019 But in 2009, the water dragon began producing eggs despite never coming into contact with a male member of her species. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "The National Zoo’s Female Asian Water Dragon Successfully Reproduced Without a Male," 6 June 2019 The Atlantic hurricane season begins today; here's what to expect Three key points for the public: Make a plan now with everyone in the household for what to take, when to evacuate, where to go and how to remain in contact with one another. Drew Broach,, "For hurricane season, make a plan, assemble a kit, prepare to flee, Jefferson officials warn," 5 June 2019 The case attracted particular opprobrium because Ms. Fontaine had been in contact with provincial social workers, the police and health care professionals in the 24 hours before her death. Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, "Canadian Inquiry Calls Killings of Indigenous Women Genocide," 3 June 2019 McCoy’s agent, Ben Dogra, was in contact with the Browns as late as Monday afternoon, the source said. Mary Kay Cabot,, "Gerald McCoy signing with the Panthers over the Browns and Ravens, source says," 3 June 2019 The missing fighter did not report any problems or anything unusual before contact was lost. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Japanese F-35 Reported Missing Over the Pacific Ocean," 9 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

There were 74 crashes during that time when emergency medical services were contacted, with 10 considered serious and requiring trauma transport. Larry Barszewski,, "Electric scooters booted from Fort Lauderdale beach for summer," 10 June 2019 Soon afterwards a journalist in California, who had access to his mother’s police file, contacted him. The Economist, "James Ellroy finally has happiness in his sights," 8 June 2019 Jerry and Sue are gathering restaurant memories and photos in time for the annual Mint Festival and welcome anyone to contact them at (574) 249-0030 or Philip Potempa, Post-Tribune, "Small town favorite restaurant hoping for new owners," 7 June 2019 The issue was uncovered June 4, when the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets contacted federal officials about whether the plant was operating under a USDA Grant of Inspection, according to the release. Kieran Nicholson, The Denver Post, "Feds recall prosciutto-topped frozen pizza out of NYC for lack of inspection," 6 June 2019 Butler’s daughter appeared in court and did not want a stay-away order to be issued barring her mother from contacting her. Olivia Prentzel,, "Mother shoots daughter in leg after refusing to let her inside Little Woods home: warrant," 6 June 2019 When contacted, most asked to speak off the record or on background, and picked their words carefully, tiptoeing around the idea. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "What Brand Defines These Soccer Stars? Their Own," 5 June 2019 Buckley informed the school board two weeks ago that a second company interested in the work had contacted them with an offer that wouldn’t cost the district anything. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "New scoreboard coming to West Aurora High School stadium," 4 June 2019 When contacted by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Schlesinger requested a list of emailed questions but didn’t answer them. Candace Taylor, WSJ, "Golf-Home Owners Find Themselves in a Hole," 10 Jan. 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

13 Jun 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).


to take the place or position of

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