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 containable (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for contain

Synonyms

bear, boast, hold

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Belly buttons contain a lot of folds that allow for the buildup of dead skin cells, sweat, and various microorganisms, Cynthia Bailey, M.D., a diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology and founder of Dr. Bailey Skin Care, tells SELF. Korin Miller, SELF, "5 Belly Button Infections You Can Get (and What to Do If You Have One)," 23 Feb. 2019 The confidential report from Mr. Mueller to Mr. Barr would contain details about why Mr. Mueller did or didn’t pursue criminal charges, which the Justice Department typically refuses to publicly discuss. Aruna Viswanatha, WSJ, "Where the Mueller Report Stands—and What Could Happen Next," 22 Feb. 2019 Shutterstock Located in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia, Saint Basil’s Cathedral originally contained 10 churches but now functions as a museum and national landmark. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The 25 most colorful cities in the world," 19 Feb. 2019 Many of these cleaners contain corrosive alkalis, which can have grave effects on your gastrointestinal track and respiratory system if inhaled and can be deadly if swallowed. Lindsey Campbell, House Beautiful, "19 Dangerous Household Items You Should Quit Using Immediately," 15 Feb. 2019 According to Jow, there is no standard dye formulation and that are a variety of dyes out there being used, some of which contain preservatives that aren’t regulated. Audrey Noble, Harper's BAZAAR, "What is Eyebrow Tinting, Anyway?," 1 Feb. 2019 Meanwhile, the farm bill — the federal omnibus legislation that President Trump signed into law last week — also contained some modest wins for animals and animal rights groups. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "2018’s big wins — and big losses — for animals," 24 Dec. 2018 Another win: Homemade food is usually lower in calories and contains less sodium, so making the time to meal plan may also help keep your family healthy, too. Arricca Elin Sansone, Woman's Day, "9 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Save Money This Weekend," 14 Nov. 2018 Firefighters appeared to have the fire contained by the afternoon, The Associated Press reported. Elizabeth Zwirz, Fox News, "4 Oklahoma troopers injured, suspect dead after shooting, fire, authorities say," 2 Oct. 2018

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 conteinen, from Anglo-French cunteign-, cuntyen-, stem of cuntenir, from Latin continēre to hold together, hold in, contain, from com- + tenēre to hold — more at thin

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Statistics for contain

Last Updated

28 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for contain

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

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More Definitions for contain

contain

verb

English Language Learners Definition of contain

: to have (something) inside
: to have or include (something)
: to keep (something) from spreading : to keep (something) within limits

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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on contain

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for contain

Spanish Central: Translation of contain

Nglish: Translation of contain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of contain for Arabic Speakers

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