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

The limited-edition collection includes three sets, each of which contains three products in shades personally selected by Aboah. Marci Robin, Allure, "Revlon Teams Up With Adwoa Aboah’s Gurls Talk for a Special Makeup Collaboration," 5 May 2019 In the 2008 study published in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology, government researchers from Health Canada’s Safe Environments Programme found that pot smoke contained 20 times the ammonia levels as did tobacco smoke. Mary Emily O'hara, Allure, "Why People With Asthma Can Benefit From Edibles," 20 Apr. 2019 Burn the brush in a small fire pit where the flames can be contained, and don’t leave the fire unattended. Henry Robertson, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Brush Clearing Tips and Equipment," 19 Apr. 2019 While milk paint is all-natural and contains zero VOC's, chalk paint is chemically-based. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Milk Paint: The Eco-Friendly Option That Everyone Should Know," 18 Apr. 2019 Low-fat dairy Low-fat milk, yogurt, and other dairy products may contain androgens, male hormones that get left in when fat is removed, says Tolbert. Suzannah Weiss, Glamour, "9 Foods to Avoid If You're Trying to Get Pregnant," 17 Apr. 2019 Every day is a master class in trying to remain calm while containing endless curiosity. Julie Cordua, Marie Claire, ""How I Won Millions of Dollars from TED to End Child Pornography"," 17 Apr. 2019 There were around 400 firefighters still working on containing the blaze when night fell in Paris. Vogue, "The Fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris Is Still Burning," 15 Apr. 2019 Made for those who eat peanut butter straight from the jar, this version will contain more peanut butter than the original candy. Woman's Day, "This New Reese's Cup Is A Peanut Butter Lover's Dream Come True," 25 Mar. 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

9 May 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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