con·​tain·​ment | \ kən-ˈtān-mənt How to pronounce containment (audio) \

Definition of containment

1 : the act, process, or means of keeping something within limits the containment of health costs
2 : the policy, process, or result of preventing the expansion of a hostile power or ideology

Examples of containment in a Sentence

The company's hazardous waste containment plan is being reviewed. The government needs to adopt a containment strategy.

Recent Examples on the Web

The administration’s China hawks have been increasingly vocal recently, pushing the idea of containment. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "A China Trade Deal or a New Cold War?," 13 Nov. 2018 Dawn Bodley didn't mind that bulldozers carved a containment line through her backyard. Jonathan J. Cooper, Fox News, "Firefighting mars the earth. California crews are fixing it," 15 Aug. 2018 Because of the type of business involved, hazardous materials crews were called out but a containment system in the building was able to handle any runoff, Saghera said. Karen Kucher,, "Fire at El Cajon business knocked down quickly; firefighters undergo decontamination," 10 May 2018 In 2015 the containment system failed, causing a massive natural-gas leak that sickened thousands and took months to bring under control. Scott Garner,, "Neighborhood Spotlight: Porter Ranch a scenic Valley community under a lingering cloud of unease," 27 Apr. 2018 That ash can contain arsenic, selenium, lead and mercury. Sunday afternoon, bulldozers could be seen hauling sand to repair two breaches in the containment area. Russell Gold, WSJ, "Florence Washes Away Portion of Coal-Ash Landfill in North Carolina," 16 Sep. 2018 Elsewhere, firefighters increased containment of a central San Diego County fire that rapidly spread over 400 acres, destroyed 18 structures and damaged eight. Washington Post, "Heat and high winds stoke wildfires in California, other Western states," 8 July 2018 More favorable weather conditions allowed firefighters to increase containment to 15%. Alene Tchekmedyian,, "Some mandatory evacuation orders lifted, others expanded in Yolo County fire," 4 July 2018 Another contractor, who said he was certified in mold removal, told the couple that the ServiceMaster All Care Restoration workers were not protecting clean areas of the house and should have established a containment area, Arnold said. Rebekah L. Sanders, azcentral, "Goodyear homeowners battle company over black-mold removal," 16 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'containment.' 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 containment

1655, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for containment

contain + -ment

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Last Updated

22 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for containment

The first known use of containment was in 1655

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English Language Learners Definition of containment

: the act of preventing the spread of something
: actions that are intended to keep an unfriendly government from getting more power

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More from Merriam-Webster on containment

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with containment

Spanish Central: Translation of containment

Nglish: Translation of containment for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of containment for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about containment

Comments on containment

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


a shady place in a garden or forest

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