con·​tain·​er | \kən-ˈtā-nər \

Definition of container 

: one that contains: such as

a : a receptacle (such as a box or jar) for holding goods

b : a portable compartment in which freight is placed (as on a train or ship) for convenience of movement

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from container

containerless \ kən-​ˈtā-​nər-​ləs \ adjective

Synonyms for container


holder, receptacle, vessel

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of container in a Sentence

The tea leaves come in a small metal container. bowls, boxes, jars, and other containers The shipment of tools arrived at the dock in cargo containers yesterday.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Keep the containers moist and move to full sun as soon as the seeds sprout. Tom Maccubbin,, "Caterpillar invasion isn't end for healthy tree," 14 July 2018 Thoroughly wash the container with warm, soapy water before using it again, to remove harmful germs that could contaminate other food. Shelia Poole, ajc, "Kellogg’s recalls “Honey Smacks” over salmonella concerns," 13 July 2018 Residents can put up to 60 pounds of refuse in the container, according to the ordinance. David Anderson, The Aegis, "Aberdeen council adopts new trash pickup ordinance," 12 July 2018 The containers will be placed in 750 stores, including 19 in Maryland. Andrea K. Mcdaniels,, "CVS to place opioid disposal containers in its stores," 12 July 2018 Out of respect for the deceased, under no circumstances should the container be opened. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "TSA denies responsibility for late mother’s ashes spilling in NFL player’s suitcase," 10 July 2018 More often, the unrefrigerated metal containers turn dangerously hot in the South Texas sun. Nicholas Kulish, The Seattle Times, "Human smuggling cat-and-mouse game plays out beyond the U.S.-Mexico border," 9 July 2018 Once inside the container, Bessemer blasted air through perforations on the bottom. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018 More often, the unrefrigerated metal containers turn dangerously hot in the South Texas sun. Nicholas Kulish, New York Times, "Border Patrol’s Last Line of Defense? It Isn’t at the Border," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'container.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of container

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about container

Statistics for container

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for container

The first known use of container was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for container



English Language Learners Definition of container

: an object (such as a box or can) that can hold something

: a large box that goods are placed in so that they can be moved from one place to another on a ship, airplane, train, or truck


con·​tain·​er | \kən-ˈtā-nər \

Kids Definition of container

: something into which other things can be put (as for storage)

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on container

What made you want to look up container? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!