content

1 of 4

noun (1)

con·​tent ˈkän-ˌtent How to pronounce content (audio)
1
a
: something contained
usually used in plural
the jar's contents
the drawer's contents
b
: the topics or matter treated in a written work
table of contents
c
: the principal substance (such as written matter, illustrations, or music) offered by a website
… Internet users have evolved an ethos of free content in the Internet.Ben Gerson
2
c
: the events, physical detail, and information in a work of art compare form sense 10c
The film was rated R for its violent content.
3
a
: the matter dealt with in a field of study
… the content of sociology is inexhaustible …Franklin H. Giddings
b
: a part, element, or complex of parts
4
: the amount of specified material contained : proportion
the sulfur content in coal

content

2 of 4

adjective

con·​tent kən-ˈtent How to pronounce content (audio)
: contented, satisfied
She was content with her life as it was.

content

3 of 4

verb

con·​tent kən-ˈtent How to pronounce content (audio)
contented; contenting; contents

transitive verb

1
: to appease the desires of
… he had been betrayed into a position which neither contented his heart nor satisfied his conscience.Edward Bulwer-Lytton
2
: to limit (oneself) in requirements, desires, or actions
The rainy weather spoiled our plans for the beach, so we had to content ourselves with a relaxing day at home.

content

4 of 4

noun (2)

con·​tent kən-ˈtent How to pronounce content (audio)
: contentment
He ate to his heart's content.

Examples of content in a Sentence

Adjective The baby looks content in her crib. A fancy hotel is not necessary; I'd be content with a warm meal and a clean place to sleep. No, I don't want to play. I'm content to watch. Not content to stay at home, she set off to see the world at the age of 16. Polls show that voters are growing less and less content with the current administration. Verb The toys contented the children, at least for a little while. a person easily contented by life's simple pleasures
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Kimberly has sat on dozens of panels to discuss food media and content creation. Kimberly Holland, Southern Living, 7 Apr. 2024 As long as it can be done gracefully, Miss Manners sees nothing wrong with consuming the entire contents of one’s drink, even the garnishes. Jacobina Martin, Washington Post, 6 Apr. 2024 The Journal wrote this week that companies may outpace new content by 2028. Wes Davis, The Verge, 6 Apr. 2024 Children and other vulnerable demographics are at risk of serious injury if the contents of the laundry detergent packets are ingested and a risk of skin or eye injuries to everyone. Sharon Greenthal, Better Homes & Gardens, 5 Apr. 2024 Norby Williamson, a 40-year ESPN veteran who was the head of events and studio production, will leave the company Friday, ESPN president of content Burke Magnus wrote in a memo to staff. Alex Weprin, The Hollywood Reporter, 5 Apr. 2024 Here's how one airline is planning to provide a total eclipse experience Bronny James, son of LeBron James, declares for the NBA Draft In: Insects Caitlin O'Kane Caitlin O'Kane is a New York City journalist who works on the CBS News social media team as a senior manager of content and production. Caitlin O'Kane, CBS News, 5 Apr. 2024 Jewish and Israeli groups warned that changing the policy would increase antisemitic content on Meta's platforms. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, 26 Mar. 2024 Last week, the company made good on a February promise to stop recommending political content to its Instagram and Threads users, when the content comes from accounts those users don’t already follow. David Meyer, Fortune, 26 Mar. 2024
Adjective
Joel, conversely, is content to perform an average of two concerts a month. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 Apr. 2024 The result is that Now gives those late acts more lip service than love, and feels content to just go straight to the victory lap. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 1 Apr. 2024 And where once some artists were content to perform intimate sets in small and midsize venues, many now prioritizes bigger venues and bigger budgets. Sonaiya Kelley, Los Angeles Times, 28 Mar. 2024 The halcyon days where venture capitalists were content forking over billions to the latest AI startup, as researchers burned through cash with little to show for it, may be all but over. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune Asia, 28 Mar. 2024 The series unpacks the near-impossibility of finding joy in maddening circumstances, especially when others are content to ignore the atrocities right in front of them. Aramide Tinubu, Variety, 27 Mar. 2024 Others, such as Germany, are perfectly content with backing Ukraine with military aid but have drawn rigid limitations around certain weapons systems, such as the long-range Taurus cruise missile, that the Ukrainians could employ against Russian cities far from the border region. Daniel Depetris, The Mercury News, 21 Mar. 2024 Baker was the antithesis of Ray Croc: pleased with his modest yet rewarding accomplishments, content with his wealth, and dedicated to serving his local community. Danny Palumbo / The Takeout, Quartz, 24 Mar. 2024 Before his daughter, Faith, was born in 2010, Jim White was mostly content with his job as an engineering manager at an IT firm in Ohio. Byalicia Adamczyk, Fortune, 22 Mar. 2024
Verb
On Tuesday, the British media contented itself with images of Prince Harry arriving at his father’s London residence, Clarence House, for a visit. Mark Landler, New York Times, 6 Feb. 2024 Whereas some name-brand Hollywood directors cultivated their public personas, Jewison, who died last week at 97, contented himself with creating some of the most captivating movies of the 20th century. Ira Wells, The Atlantic, 25 Jan. 2024 Anyone can see that cats that are well fed still pounce on small moving objects, and that cats can lead healthy and seemingly contented lives indoors. Jonathan Franzen, The New Yorker, 25 Dec. 2023 Historically, lodgings outside the capital have contented themselves with hosting the budget-conscious backpacker crowd. John Bowe, Travel + Leisure, 18 Oct. 2023 Rather than working long hours on set for a production company or movie studio, a growing number of children create, and often monetize, content themselves in the hopes of building a media empire like MrBeast, one of YouTube’s biggest stars. Taylor Lorenz, Washington Post, 22 Dec. 2023 Regardless, the Chargers were left feeling less than contented as their fading season ambled on. Jeff Miller, Los Angeles Times, 27 Nov. 2023 Nyad was blown off course and contented with shoulder pain, asthma and stings from jellyfish and Portuguese man-of-war. Jack Smart, Peoplemag, 3 Nov. 2023 If the statues themselves are beyond your gifting price range, there’s also the option to content yourself with some window shopping. Vulture Staff, Vulture, 20 Nov. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'content.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Medieval Latin contentum (usually in plural contenta), noun derivative from neuter past participle of Latin continēre "to hold together, restrain, have as contents" — more at contain

Adjective

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, going back to Latin contentus "satisfied," from past participle of continēre "to hold together, restrain, have as contents" — more at contain

Note: The sense "satisfied" of Latin contentus presumably developed from the more literal meaning "self-contained, restrained, held in." This is still somewhat apparent in early uses, as in this passage from Plautus's Poenulus: "ego faxo posthac di deaeque ceteri / contentiores mage erunt atque avidi minus, / quom scibunt, ut Veneri adierit leno manum." ("I will make the other gods and goddesses more restrained (contentiores) and less greedy when they know how the procurer played a trick on Venus.")

Verb

Middle English contenten "to rest satisfied, satisfy," borrowed from Anglo-French contenter "to satisfy," borrowed from Medieval Latin contentāre, verbal derivative of Latin contentus "satisfied" — more at content entry 2

Noun (2)

noun derivative of content entry 2 or content entry 3

First Known Use

Noun (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1579, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of content was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near content

Cite this Entry

“Content.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/content. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

content

1 of 4 adjective
con·​tent kən-ˈtent How to pronounce content (audio)
: pleased and satisfied with what one has or is

content

2 of 4 verb
: to make content : satisfy

content

3 of 4 noun
: contentment
especially : freedom from care or discomfort

content

4 of 4 noun
con·​tent ˈkän-ˌtent How to pronounce content (audio)
1
a
: something contained
usually used in plural
the contents of a jar
b
: the subject matter or topics treated (as in a book)
table of contents
2
: the essential meaning
I enjoy the rhythm of the poem but I don't understand its content
3
: an amount that is contained or can be contained
oil with a high content of sulfur
the jug has a content of four liters

Medical Definition

content

noun
con·​tent ˈkän-ˌtent How to pronounce content (audio)
1
: something contained
usually used in plural
the stomach contents
2
: the subject matter or symbolic significance of something see latent content, manifest content
3
: the amount of specified material contained
the sulfur content of a sample

More from Merriam-Webster on content

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