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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for contribute


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The bulk -- $4 million -- would go to support forest restoration projects, including thinning and the removal of downed limbs and debris from forest floors that contribute to fire growth and risks. oregonlive, "Oregon lawmakers reluctantly make $17 million downpayment on wildfire preparedness," 9 Jan. 2021 In certain cases, people have health conditions that contribute to bad posture. Korin Miller, SELF, "How to Improve Your Posture Because We’re Pretty Much All Guilty of Slouching," 4 Jan. 2021 Many of our readers are looking for ways to spend in a greener way, whether that means buying more sustainably or investing in ways that don’t reward companies that contribute to global warming. New York Times, "New Year’s Resolutions for the Planet," 29 Dec. 2020 Buildings generate a surprisingly large share of the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Russell Gold, WSJ, "A Blueprint for Green Buildings Struggles to Catch On," 25 Dec. 2020 On a related note, Bibbo says workers should understand various ways to contribute to 401(k) plans. cleveland, "Area finance expert offers tips for the end of a year like no other," 20 Dec. 2020 While working directly with the animals may seem like the most obvious way to contribute, shelters are multi-faceted organizations that take the work of a dynamic team to succeed. Zoe Denenberg, Southern Living, "The Best Ways to Support Your Local Animal Shelter," 18 Dec. 2020 While the most qualified experts became quickly immersed in the pandemic response, others were stuck at home looking for ways to contribute. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, "How Science Beat the Virus," 17 Dec. 2020 Mayfield said another way Biden could contribute to job gains would be to coordinate more PPE production at American factories. NBC News, "Biden will have a long list of economic fixes to make: Experts say these are the top 3," 11 Nov. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about contribute

Time Traveler for contribute

Time Traveler

The first known use of contribute was in 1530

See more words from the same year

Statistics for contribute

Last Updated

18 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Contribute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for contribute


How to pronounce contribute (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on contribute

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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