con·​trib·​ute | \ kən-ˈtri-(ˌ)byüt How to pronounce contribute (audio) , -byət also and especially before -​ed or -​ing -ˈtri-bət; chiefly British also ˈkän-trə-ˌbyüt \
contributed; contributing; contributes

Definition of contribute

1 transitive + intransitive : to give or supply (something, such as money or time) as a part or share contribute money to a cause contributed canned goods to the food drive What percentage of your pay should you contribute to your 401(k)? We'd like to thank all who contributed their time and effort. I'm happy to attend, but I don't have much to contribute to the discussion. Many people contributed to the fund-raising campaign. If you are a parent, success is probably defined by how well your children turned out. Are they happy, successful adults? Do they contribute to society in a positive way?— Bill Nordbrock
2 transitive + intransitive : to supply (something, such as an article) for a publication He contributed several poems to the magazine. The following authors contributed to this issue: …
3 intransitive : to play a significant part in making something happen Many players have contributed to the team's success. "We cannot address climate change without looking at all the components that are contributing to the problem of emissions."— Tony de Brum

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Synonyms for contribute


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Examples of contribute in a Sentence

The volunteers contributed their time towards cleaning up the city. We're trying to raise money for a new school, and we're hoping that everyone will contribute. He did not contribute to the project. In order for the team to win, everyone has to contribute. He contributed many poems to the magazine. Ten scientists contributed to the special edition of the journal.
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Recent Examples on the Web Harassment and discrimination contribute to the difficulties LGBTQ youth have finding stable housing, the study says, and family rejection is one of the leading factors in LGBTQ youth homelessness. Lawrence Andrea, The Indianapolis Star, "'Our house is officially a home': Home for homeless LGBTQ youth opens in Indianapolis," 30 Apr. 2021 The data provides snapshots in time, and experts say many variables contribute to traffic and congestion, such as highway construction and whether schools are open. Ricardo Cano, San Francisco Chronicle, "Bay Area freeway traffic has rebounded, but congestion has not. Is this the new normal?," 29 Apr. 2021 These new methods emphasize adolescents’ concern with status and respect, their evolving sense of self in relation to the wider world, and their need to contribute and find purpose. Lydia Denworth, Scientific American, "Adolescent Brains Are Wired to Want Status and Respect: That’s an Opportunity for Teachers and Parents," 28 Apr. 2021 Guidelines invite others to contribute and flex, ratcheting up the best current thinking. George Bradt, Forbes, "The Top Five Executive Onboarding And Leadership Ideas From My First 700 Forbes Articles," 27 Apr. 2021 Those rules, analysts say, contribute to sky-high housing costs and effectively block some people from buying homes in many Boston-area suburbs., "Warren joins push for more housing help from DC, seeking nearly $500 billion for 3 million new homes," 22 Apr. 2021 Brown said students naturally want to participate in their families and contribute something and be part of the family, and cooking is a good way to do that. Jesse Wright,, "Celebrity Chef Rome stopped by a Tinley Park alternative school to fix a meal, help students ‘live out their dreams’," 20 Apr. 2021 Pritchett struggled to contribute to utility payments and worried about being a burden. NBC News, "'Two-generation' programs aim to break the cycle of poverty. The pandemic was a big test.," 18 Apr. 2021 Snoop Dogg will again contribute some banter, and boxing purists can rely on insight from Ray Flores, Al Bernstein and Mike Coppinger. Melissa Ruggieri, ajc, "Triller Fight Club mixes top music names - Justin Bieber, The Black Keys, Snoop Dogg - with boxing," 14 Apr. 2021

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

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for contribute

Latin contributus, past participle of contribuere, from com- + tribuere to grant — more at tribute

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Time Traveler for contribute

Time Traveler

The first known use of contribute was in 1530

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Statistics for contribute

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Contribute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for contribute



English Language Learners Definition of contribute

: to give (something, such as money, goods, or time) to help a person, group, cause, or organization
: to help to cause something to happen
: to write (something, such as a story, poem, or essay) for a magazine


con·​trib·​ute | \ kən-ˈtri-byət How to pronounce contribute (audio) , -byüt \
contributed; contributing

Kids Definition of contribute

1 : to give along with others
2 : to have a share in something You all contributed to the success of the project.
3 : to supply (as an article) for publication especially in a magazine

Other Words from contribute

contributor \ kən-​ˈtri-​byə-​tər \ noun


contributed; contributing

Legal Definition of contribute

transitive verb

: to make a contribution of

intransitive verb

: to make a contribution

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Comments on contribute

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