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

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Other Words from container

containerless \kən-ˈtā-nər-ləs \ adjective

Synonyms for container


holder, receptacle, vessel

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Make sure to follow the rules, though, including no glass containers, no bicycles (there’s a $3 bike valet available), no small children, no dogs and no fighting. Lisa Deaderick,, "Taking a swing at annual Over the Line tournament," 12 July 2018 San Diego is considering prohibiting a particularly ubiquitous plastic product: expanded polystyrene (EPS)—better known as styrofoam—which is used widely in takeout food containers, cups, ice chests, and packing peanuts. Camille Harmer, Fortune, "How Banning Plastic Straws Could Make Pollution Even Worse," 12 July 2018 Plastic Code 6: Polystryene Brittle, hard plastics — including yogurt containers, egg boxes, fast food trays, video cases, disposable cutlery, vending cups and coat hangers. Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "Do you take recycling seriously? Here's how Sacramento's waste rules are changing," 10 July 2018 Even with the current ubiquity of portable water containers, far too many people still fail to consume enough liquid to compensate for losses suffered especially, though not exclusively, during the dehydrating months of summer. New York Times, "How to Meet Your Body’s Water Needs," 9 July 2018 Frozen tuberculosis spilled Thursday within the Johns Hopkins Cancer Research Building, creating a potential hazard after a latch failed on a transport container, an official with the medical institution said Friday. Andrea K. Mcdaniels,, "Tuberculosis spilled at Hopkins because latch failed," 7 July 2018 The third stage is recognizing that zero, or an empty container, is a value less than one. Brian Resnick, Vox, "The mind-bendy weirdness of the number zero, explained," 5 July 2018 This lovely humidor case is odor resistant and lockable, and comes with an array of containers, a zinc alloy grinder and removable rolling tray. Olivia Hall, The Seattle Times, "Overstressed? 15 wellness trends to help you relax," 3 July 2018 Visitors are asked not to bring fireworks, alcohol, glass containers, tents, large umbrellas and four-legged friends except for assistance and seeing dogs. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "Katy cancels July 4th program; VFW, LaCenterra still plan events," 3 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.

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First Known Use of container

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for container

Last Updated

28 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for container

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

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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)

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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).


one that holds something together

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