Definition of contain
1 : to keep within limits: such asa : restrain, control could hardly contain her enthusiasmb : 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 Communismd : to prevent (an enemy or opponent) from advancing or from making a successful attack
: to restrain oneself
containableplay \kən-ˈtā-nə-bəl\ adjective
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.
Origin and Etymology of 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
First Known Use: 14th century
Synonym Discussion of contain
CONTAIN Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of contain for English Language Learners
: to have (something) inside
: to have or include (something)
: to keep (something) from spreading : to keep (something) within limits
CONTAIN Defined for Kids
Definition of contain for Students
Word Root of contain
The Latin words tenēre, meaning “to hold,” gives us the roots ten and tain. Words from the Latin tenēre have something to do with holding. Something tenacious holds on and is not easily gotten rid of. To contain is to hold things together inside. To obtain is to get hold of. To retain is to continue to hold.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up contain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).