Definition of contain
1 : to keep within limits: such asa : restrain, control could hardly contain her enthusiasmb : 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 Communismd : to prevent (an enemy or opponent) from advancing or from making a successful attack
: to restrain oneself
containableplay \kən-ˈtā-nə-bəl\ adjective
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.
Recent Examples of contain from the Web
Proving that bacon is bigger than breakfast and that no conventional time constraint can contain it, the festival doesn’t start until noon.
The purse also contained an appointment reminder card with a Glencoe dentist.
The purse contained as many as four credit and debit cards, an iPhone and an iPad, according to records.
Even friction over Gibraltar -- the enclave on Spain’s southern tip that’s been in British hands since 1713 -- has been largely contained.
Look for a formula that contains l-ascorbic acid, one of the most effective forms of vitamin C. We like Paula's Choice Resist C15 Super Booster ($49; paulaschoice.com).
This episode contains frank discussion of Season 1, Episode 9 of Twin Peaks:
Mars soil also contains chemicals like hydrogen peroxide and rust.
Most Americans grew up thinking of tacos as those crunchy, sunny yellow circles folded into a deep-sided boat just wide enough to hold a spoonful of timidly spicy filling and narrow enough to contain our ideas of what Mexican cooking is.
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.
Synonym Discussion of contain
CONTAIN Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of contain for English Language Learners
: to have (something) inside
: to have or include (something)
: to keep (something) from spreading : to keep (something) within limits
CONTAIN Defined for Kids
Definition of contain for Students
Word Root of contain
The Latin words tenēre, meaning “to hold,” gives us the roots ten and tain. Words from the Latin tenēre have something to do with holding. Something tenacious holds on and is not easily gotten rid of. To contain is to hold things together inside. To obtain is to get hold of. To retain is to continue to hold.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up contain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).