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 More than 800 firefighters have responded this week to help increase containment to 90% by Friday morning. Alejandro Serrano,, "Crews Fire reaches 90% containment in sixth day of blaze near Gilroy," 10 July 2020 While one side worries that gains from lockdowns are being squandered as rates around the country rise and call for new containment strategies, the other points to improved readiness. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "What is the point of the coronavirus response?," 9 July 2020 Since Kenya announced its first coronavirus case in early March, alleged instances of police brutality tied to the enforcement of virus containment measures have come in waves. Washington Post, "‘On our own’: Kenyan activists feel alone in the fight against police brutality," 12 July 2020 In an effort to block future outbreaks, China has cracked down on the trade in wildlife and closed some markets, while enforcing strict containment measures that appear to have virtually stopped new local infections. NBC News, "WHO experts head to China to investigate origins of COVID-19," 10 July 2020 The weather enabled firefighters to build more control lines, reaching 80% containment of the Crews Fire, according to Cal Fire. Alejandro Serrano,, "Kind weather helps firefighters keep Crews Fire near Gilroy at 5,400 acres," 9 July 2020 Lee, a Republican, initially imposed the state of emergency March 12 in order to free up funding and relax rules regarding the treatment and containment of COVID-19. USA TODAY, "Mink worries, rumor patrol, paused reopenings: News from around our 50 states," 1 July 2020 Fire officials did not have an update on the Bush Fire as of Wednesday morning, but said Tuesday the fire had burned 193,455 acres in the Tonto National Forest and remained at 98% containment. Helen Wieffering, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona wildfires: Bighorn Fire at 118,000 acres, 54% containment as others wrap up," 1 July 2020 Since the beginning of its outbreak, the U.S. has relied on two options: mitigation via draconian stay-at-home orders, and containment of the virus’s spread via testing, self-isolation, and contact tracing. Nsikan Akpan, National Geographic, "Here's how to stop the virus from winning," 26 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for containment

Time Traveler

The first known use of containment was in 1655

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Last Updated

2 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Containment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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How to pronounce containment (audio)

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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