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

On housing, Walsh is on track with his ambitious goal to build 70,000 new units to contain prices, one of the most pressing and intractable problems in Boston. Milton J. Valencia, BostonGlobe.com, "In a city moving loudly to the left, Walsh often stays in the middle," 16 June 2019 The massive coffin, which was excavated in the city of Alexandria, was found to contain three skeletons and gold sheets with the remains. Fox News, "Ancient Egyptian fortress built by Ramses II reveals its secrets," 15 June 2019 Scary health misinformation from a website notorious for conjuring falsehoods can be particularly difficult to contain. Elaine Ayala, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio officials, news media fight fear with facts," 14 June 2019 About 40 firefighters were assigned Wednesday to contain the fire’s spread on its southwestern corner, the portion closest to the Sterling Highway, said Sarah Saarloos, fire information officer for the Alaska Division of Forestry. Madeline Mcgee, Anchorage Daily News, "Kenai Peninsula wildfire doubles in size but spreads away from populated areas," 14 June 2019 Despite the strength of the storm, the state managed to effectively contain the loss of life, earning it laurels from across the world. Nupur Anand, Quartz India, "India’s Gujarat may narrowly escape “very severe” Cyclone Vayu," 13 June 2019 While waiting for wildlife experts, deputies attempted to contain the gator themselves, but the animal proved too quick for them. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Eight-foot gator spotted in middle of Louisiana highway escapes after chomping deputy's car," 12 June 2019 State environmental officials are continuing efforts to contain potentially hazardous chemical pollution in the Farmington River resulting from the accidental spill of fire-fighting foam at a Bradley International Airport hangar. Gregory B. Hladky, courant.com, "State working to contain Farmington River pollution from firefighting foam spill," 12 June 2019 But Mexico had already agreed last July to create a new border patrol force to contain immigration across the country. Heather Timmons, Quartz, "The Mexico deal is a triumph of Trump’s “speak loudly, carry tiny stick” diplomacy," 11 June 2019

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

20 Jun 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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