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 The proposal, called a carbon border adjustment mechanism and which the EU plans to outline tomorrow as part of a broader environmental plan, could effectively tax imports that contribute heavily to greenhouse-gas emissions. Daniel Michaels, WSJ, 13 July 2021 For years, many psychedelic scientists have been theorizing that hallucinating on magic mushrooms could possibly reboot the brain and clear out negative thoughts that may contribute to depression. Audrey Conklin, Fox News, 10 July 2021 The ordinance, which took effect in 2020, was aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 July 2021 State lawmakers recently amended New York’s public nuisance statute to specifically include marketing and sales practices that contribute to gun crimes. Timothy D. Lytton, The Conversation, 7 July 2021 The survey team published results on 6 July in two preprint articles, which also examine factors that contribute to research misconduct, on MetaArxiv. Jop De Vrieze, Science | AAAS, 7 July 2021 The second count, breach of contract, claims that the condo association failed to repair and replace elements of the building and portions of the units that contribute to the support of the building, according to the lawsuit. Angie Dimichele,, 29 June 2021 Analyzing what children do differently during the school year compared with the summer months has led researchers to single out factors that can contribute to unhealthful weight gain. Kim Tingley, New York Times, 24 June 2021 So if there are discussions that can contribute to that, while still maintaining international solidarity and pressure, then those are the kinds of things that should be considered. Time, 24 June 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

17 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Contribute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jul. 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

More from Merriam-Webster on contribute

Nglish: Translation of contribute for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of contribute for Arabic Speakers


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