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 After dealing with an early-season shoulder and hip injury, as well as freshman jitters, Williams feels better suited to contribute to the offense this season. Tom Green |, al, "Auburn offensive coordinator Chad Morris finds strength in numbers at running back," 20 Sep. 2020 But some could be hit with a hefty bill since their employer is no longer required to contribute to their premium. Jessica Menton, USA TODAY, "'This is going to bankrupt me': Americans rack up $45B worth of medical debt in collections," 18 Sep. 2020 CradlePoint is expected to contribute to operating cash-flow starting in 2022. Charles Daly,, "Ericsson Buys CradlePoint in $1.1 Billion Deal to Build 5G," 18 Sep. 2020 The online activity and comments surrounding the post though, did seem to contribute to John Carroll’s administration making significant changes to its presence on social media. S. Wayne Carter Jr.,, "After photo of teacher giving finger to Trump sticker goes viral, John Carroll School dismisses her, changes social media policies," 17 Sep. 2020 At the Heritage Foundation, von Spakovsky maintains a database of voter fraud cases and, emails show, regularly urges secretaries of state to contribute to it. Mike Spies, ProPublica, "No Democrats Allowed: A Conservative Lawyer Holds Secret Voter Fraud Meetings With State Election Officials," 15 Sep. 2020 Drainage issues appear to contribute to the overall issue. Washington Post, "Drainage and tree roots wreak havoc on stone walkway," 14 Sep. 2020 Ultimately, the greatest opportunity investors have to contribute to economic equality is deciding who gets capital. Fiona Reynolds, Fortune, "To fight systemic racism, the investment industry needs to look at its whiteness first," 10 Sep. 2020 The league has also committed to contribute to a billion-dollar endowment. Dan Rys, Billboard, "Alicia Keys Launches $1B Fund for Black-Owned Business, Explains Why She's Performing at NFL Kickoff," 10 Sep. 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.

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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

26 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Contribute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

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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

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Comments on contribute

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