con·​tain·​er | \ kən-ˈtā-nər How to pronounce container (audio) \

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 How to pronounce containerless (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for container


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 The products are not manufactured in China, but the jars and containers for the creams and oils come from there. Randy Diamond,, "San Antonio business could close because of coronavirus," 13 Feb. 2020 In 2012, Dart acquired another Midwestern container company, Solo, for $1 billion. Michael Corkery, New York Times, "Your Foam Coffee Cup Is Fighting for Its Life," 10 Feb. 2020 With so many bulk and refill shops opening up, there’s no reason to throw away shampoo and detergent containers anymore. Dakota Kim, Sunset Magazine, "Ditch the Plastic Packaging: 6 Refill Stores for Kitchen, Bath, and Home," 10 Feb. 2020 The trouble in supply chains was reflected in losses in the container business, estimated at about $350 million a week, according to industry site Maritime Denmark. Kelvin Chan,, "Sony, Amazon, others drop out of big tech show over virus fears," 10 Feb. 2020 An employee brought the order out and, lifting a hatch on one side of the robot, put the food in an insulated container inside. Cindy Heflin, Detroit Free Press, "In Ann Arbor, you can order lunch and have it delivered by a robot," 8 Feb. 2020 Pam Peirce will be presenting a workshop on Growing Vegetables and Herbs Year-Round with an emphasis on container gardening, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. March 14, $30, at Pollinate Farm & Garden, 2727 Fruitvale Ave. Pam Peirce,, "Edible flowers for your garden and dinner table," 7 Feb. 2020 Nearly 50% off: This innovative container to keep berries fresh Berries are nature's candy. Isabelle Kagan, USA TODAY, "The 5 best Amazon deals you can get this Thursday," 6 Feb. 2020 Seeds can be planted in any shallow container about 2 to 3 ½ inches deep with drainage holes. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, "Here's When to Start Seeds Indoors, and How to Start the Process," 4 Feb. 2020

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

History and Etymology for container

Middle English conteyner, from conteynen "to contain" + -er -er entry 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about container

Time Traveler for container

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for container

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Container.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for container


How to pronounce container (audio)

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 How to pronounce container (audio) \

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!