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

There is often important information contained in the spaces between things that are said. Misty Bell Stiers, Quartz at Work, "Pride month is over. The need for safe spaces at work is not," 13 July 2019 Cal Fire Battalion Chief Randy Scales said the fire was contained to less than a quarter-acre of grass and brush within 15 minutes of responding at 12:32 p.m. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Rockhouse Road brush fire quickly snuffed," 12 July 2019 Replacements’ facilities are the size of eight football fields and contain a museum and a discounted room that has the feel of a rummage sale. Susan Harlan, Curbed, "The dish store that is my home away from home," 11 July 2019 Her strapless crop top was covered in fringe hanging down her torso, and her high-waisted zip-up trousers contained matching embellishments. Tatum Dooley, Teen Vogue, "From Zendaya’s Custom Couture Crop Top to Celine Dion’s Canine Arm Candy, These Are The Best Looks of The Week," 5 July 2019 Real fans will know, Billie frequently switches her hair back and forth between ice gray, steel blue, and black, but her new look contains two colors she's never worn before. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Billie Eilish Dyed Her Roots Neon Green and the Look is Freaking Wild," 3 July 2019 In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones must find a secret chamber that contains the legendary Ark of the Covenant. Quanta Magazine, "Random Surfaces Hide an Intricate Order," 2 July 2019 The analysis provides extensive and detailed warnings of how the buildings that often contain Washington’s children could fare in a powerful earthquake and shows how retrofits now could save money — and lives. Evan Bush, The Seattle Times, "If a big earthquake hits, many Washington schools at ‘high risk’," 1 July 2019 The video, which contains content that might be offensive to some people, can be viewed here. Howard Koplowitz | Hkoplowitz@al.com, NOLA.com, "‘Attack squirrel’ owner captured after police chase," 28 June 2019

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

18 Jul 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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