contain

verb
con·​tain | \ kən-ˈtān How to pronounce contain (audio) \
contained; containing; contains

Definition of contain

transitive verb

1 : to keep within limits: such as
a : restrain, control could hardly contain her enthusiasm
b : check, halt contain the spread of a deadly disease Firefighters contained the wildfire.
c : to follow successfully a policy of containment toward efforts to contain Communism
d : to prevent (an enemy or opponent) from advancing or from making a successful attack
2a : to have within : hold The box contains old letters.
b : comprise, include The bill contains several new clauses.
3a : to be divisible by usually without a remainder
b : enclose, bound

intransitive verb

: to restrain oneself

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Other Words from contain

containable \ kən-​ˈtā-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce contain (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for contain

Synonyms

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Choose the Right Synonym for contain

contain, hold, accommodate mean to have or be capable of having within. contain implies the actual presence of a specified substance or quantity within something. the can contains a quart of oil hold implies the capacity of containing or the usual or permanent function of containing or keeping. the bookcase will hold all my textbooks accommodate stresses holding without crowding or inconvenience. the hall can accommodate 500 people

Examples of contain in a Sentence

The room was barely big enough to contain everyone who came to the meeting. The book contains over 200 recipes. The article contains information on how to plan your retirement. foods that contain a high level of fat The movie contains something for both children and adults. State health officials have succeeded in containing the virus. See More
Recent Examples on the Web At first glance, the latest report on US inflation appeared to contain some good news. Julia Horowitz, CNN, 12 May 2022 This dynamic is being worsened by rising energy and commodities prices caused by the Ukraine war, as well as by China’s extensive lockdowns in its bid to contain Covid-19. Gwynn Guilford, WSJ, 12 May 2022 The gas was released from a shallow underground area that the company did not expect to contain significant amounts of gas. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, 12 May 2022 In 2018, a letter that claimed to contain ricin led to a full biohazard response by first responders at her home. Fox News, 11 May 2022 The skyscraper is one of two buildings taking shape at the Hudson's site; the other is an 11-story midrise to contain nearly 400,000 square feet of office space and exhibition space. Jc Reindl, Detroit Free Press, 11 May 2022 Boaters enjoying the spring day at Lake Mead made a jarring discovery May 1: a metal barrel that appeared to contain skeletal remains. Marlene Lenthang, NBC News, 10 May 2022 In Game 2, at home, the Celtics had a really good plan to contain Giannis. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 10 May 2022 Crews were able to contain the fire to the kitchen and put it out, but smoke still spread throughout the structure, Weaver said. Grant Lancaster, Arkansas Online, 10 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contain.' 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 contain

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for contain

Middle English conteynen, borrowed from Anglo-French cunteign-, cunteyn-, present tense stem of contenir, cuntenir, going back (with conjugation change) to Latin continēre "to hold together, restrain, have as contents," from con- con- + tenēre "to hold, occupy, possess" — more at tenant entry 1

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Time Traveler for contain

Time Traveler

The first known use of contain was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near contain

contagium

contain

contained

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Statistics for contain

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Contain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/contain. Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for contain

contain

verb
con·​tain | \ kən-ˈtān How to pronounce contain (audio) \
contained; containing

Kids Definition of contain

1 : to have within : hold The box contained some old books.
2 : to consist of or include The building contains classrooms.
3 : to keep within limits : restrain, check The fire was contained. I tried to contain my anger.

More from Merriam-Webster on contain

Nglish: Translation of contain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of contain for Arabic Speakers

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