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

Melt fans praise the deeply pigmented eye shadows, available in stacks that contain four individual shadows. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Melt Cosmetics Is Coming to Sephora and Bringing Its Ultra-Pigmented Shadows With It," 15 May 2019 Mineral sunscreens that contain zinc or titanium are usually more stable, but the formulation can degrade over time, causing separation of ingredients and causing the lotion to become grainy or watery and, therefore, not properly effective. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Does Sunscreen Expire? And Every Other Question You’ve Had About SPF, Answered," 14 May 2019 Treat bare spots with an all-in-one Lawn Repair Mixture that contains grass seed, mulch, and a quick-start fertilizer. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Get Rid of Lawn Weeds," 19 Apr. 2019 But his announcement came as the county was building a controversial $232 million facility that will contain a 112-bed youth detention center. Tyrone Beason, The Seattle Times, "As King County looks to end youth detention, Choose 180 offers a path of ‘restorative justice’," 12 Apr. 2019 Netflix first teased the documentary on Sunday, April 7, with a vague movie poster that contained nothing but the the title and air date. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Beyoncé's Homecoming Netflix Documentary: Everything You Need to Know," 8 Apr. 2019 Next year, the United Kingdom is slated to unveil a nationwide age verification system that’ll require all sites that contain adult content to verify visitors’ ages before allowing them on the site. Lux Alptraum, The Verge, "How Tumblr went from being the most porn-friendly social media site to banning porn," 5 Dec. 2018 And emerging companies have come up with ways to gently do the same with a variety of allergens: SpoonfulOne is a powder that contains food proteins like soy and peanuts to be mixed into a baby’s food. Jessica Migala, Woman's Day, "How to Keep Your Kids Safe From Food Allergies," 19 Nov. 2018 Each photograph is separated by protective paper that contains a succinct description: Phot. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "Inside the Enduring Mystery of What Happened to Russia's Imperial Jewelry," 1 Nov. 2018

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

23 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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