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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from contain

containable \ kən-​ˈtā-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce containable (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for contain

Synonyms

bear, boast, hold

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

People get sick inhaling microscopic water droplets containing the legionella bacteria. CBS News, "Deadly Legionnaires' outbreak at Atlanta hotel a "nationwide problem," attorney says," 12 Aug. 2019 But the team was able to identify signs of nest-building at 22 breeding sites, 14 of which contained nearly 3,000 Goliath eggs each. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "How Did the World’s Largest Frog Get So Big? Possibly by Building Its Own Ponds," 12 Aug. 2019 Current law does not require, local school systems to adopt it, but the Assembly – without knowing what the model curriculum would contain – voted in May to make its use mandatory and a requirement for high school graduation. Dan Walters, The Mercury News, "Walters: California’s ethnic studies political time bomb explodes," 11 Aug. 2019 Engineers are testing prototypes in a plasma wind tunnel and reckon the winning design will contain a low-melting-point alloy of zinc. The Economist, "No one has yet been killed by re-entering space junk," 10 Aug. 2019 An evaluation of a cotton pad containing vitamin K and caffeine found that the pad acted as an emollient and drastically reduced the appearance of under-eye circles. Nikhita Mahtani, CNN Underscored, "Want to fight dark circles? Look for these ingredients in your next eye cream," 10 Aug. 2019 The most notable find was a wreck containing a shipload of mid-3rd-century B.C. amphorae, or ancient jars, from various locations around the Mediterranean. Fox News, "Stunning cargo-laden ancient shipwrecks discovered off Greek island," 10 Aug. 2019 The explosive devices containing shrapnel were designed to be fired from a 37mm grenade launcher, according to authorities. Kevin Krause, Dallas News, "Feds are looking for militia man with 'violent tendencies' who mounted armed patrols on South Texas border," 9 Aug. 2019 Until March, Japan explicitly forbade the growth of animal embryos containing human cells beyond 14 days or the transplant of such embryos into a surrogate uterus. David Cyranoski, Scientific American, "Japan Approves First Human-Animal Embryo Experiments," 9 Aug. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about contain

Statistics for contain

Last Updated

15 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for contain

The first known use of contain was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on contain

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to move or obtain by small maneuvers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!