con·​tri·​bu·​tion | \ ˌkän-trə-ˈbyü-shən How to pronounce contribution (audio) \
plural contributions

Definition of contribution

1 : the act of contributing: such as
a : the giving or supplying of something (such as money or time) as a part or share They're collecting donations for contribution to the scholarship fund. The hundreds of sweets were donated by members of the community in contribution to the center's midday Easter community meal, which will serve about 800 guests, said Phillip Wilson, weekend facility technician at Charlotte Rescue Mission.— Brittany Penland
b : the giving or supplying of something that plays a significant part in making something happen Nurses are advised … to acknowledge each individual's right to choose … the level of contribution that they may want to make to decisions about their care.— Beverley Bostock-Cox
2 : something that is contributed: such as
a : something (such as money or time) that is given or supplied as a part or share his $100 contribution to the cancer research fund 401(k) contributions Give cash. Contributions of food and clothing do not have the immediate impact that money does because they take longer to distribute. Some relief organizations may not have the staff or infrastructure to do that job (Jacksonville, North Carolina) During the 1930's, Dr. [William Henry] Sebrell made many important contributions to our knowledge of the anemias and the role of diet in cirrhosis of the She wants to make a positive contribution to society.
b : something that plays a significant part in making something happen her contribution to the team's victory He [Zullfigar Ali Quershi] added that Pakistan would nonetheless attempt to limit its contribution to climate change problems as the country developed economically.— Richard Monastersky
c : something (such as an article) that is supplied for a publication … the new magazine, though published mainly in English, will print French contributions in the original, with English abstracts.Quill and Quire
3 : a payment (such as a levy or tax) imposed by military, civil, or ecclesiastical authorities usually for a special or extraordinary purpose

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Other Words from contribution

contributive \ kən-​ˈtri-​byə-​tiv How to pronounce contribution (audio) \ adjective
contributively adverb

Examples of contribution in a Sentence

They thanked him for his contribution of time and money. He made an important contribution to the debate. As mayor, he made many positive contributions to the growth of the city. a book of essays including contributions from several well-known political columnists The money was raised by voluntary contribution.
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Recent Examples on the Web The contribution has given the university naming rights for the lab and a sign acknowledging their role in its creation will be displayed, said Elizabeth Moe-Garcia, the club’s chief development officer. Mike Danahey,, 7 Oct. 2021 Last month, President Biden pledged to double the US contribution to $11.4 billion, but that money is for 2024 and hasn’t been approved by Congress., 6 Oct. 2021 Consider waiting a few weeks before making the contribution to find out where Congress is going with taxes. Steve Parrish, Forbes, 4 Oct. 2021 But the contribution of Posey, who led the Giants to three World Series championships, who guided a young pitching staff and who fully bought into the team’s new direction is likely single most important piece of this remarkable puzzle. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, 3 Oct. 2021 The average balance stands at less than $49,000, while the typical annual contribution to either Roth or traditional IRAs is about $3,900 per year, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, 30 Sep. 2021 They'll be forced next year to contend with a significant spike in the annual pension contribution that threatens city services and have been setting aside funds in an effort to ease the increase. Alison Dirr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 21 Sep. 2021 The multi-million dollar contribution will benefit the city, said Marc Anderson, president and CEO of Visit San Antonio. Randy Diamond, San Antonio Express-News, 18 Sep. 2021 The biggest contribution to growth in agricultural exports would be crops, which are forecast to rise by 17% to AU$30 billion ($22 billion). Rod Mcguirk, ajc, 14 Sep. 2021

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for contribution

see contribute

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Time Traveler for contribution

Time Traveler

The first known use of contribution was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near contribution

contributing factor



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Last Updated

10 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Contribution.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for contribution



English Language Learners Definition of contribution

: something that is given to help a person, a cause, etc.
: something that is done to cause something to happen
: a piece of writing that is published as part of a larger work (such as a magazine, newspaper, or book)


con·​tri·​bu·​tion | \ ˌkän-trə-ˈbyü-shən How to pronounce contribution (audio) \

Kids Definition of contribution

: the act of giving something or something given : donation



Legal Definition of contribution

1 : payment of a share of an amount for which one is liable: as
a : shared payment of a judgment by joint tortfeasors especially according to proportional fault — compare apportion sense a
b : pro rata apportionment of loss among all the insurance policies covering the same person or property — compare indemnity
2 : the money paid by one responsible for a share
3 : payment to a common fund (as by an employer or employee to an insurance plan or retirement fund)

More from Merriam-Webster on contribution

Nglish: Translation of contribution for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of contribution for Arabic Speakers


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