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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from contribution

contributive \ kən-​ˈtri-​byə-​tiv How to pronounce contributive (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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The second largest contribution to the voter guide PAC, $75,000, was from the Multnomah County measure to tax high-income earners to pay for universal preschool. oregonlive, "Oregon public employee unions, interest groups launch neutral looking election website to sway voters," 16 Oct. 2020 The contribution is part of a $50 million initiative to advance racial equality that the banking and insurance company announced Monday. Andres Picon,, "Alamo Colleges readies second wave of free tuition after record donation from USAA," 16 Oct. 2020 That means the city’s total contribution is nearly $4 million. John Benson, cleveland, "Lakewood eyeing OPWC funds for water main improvements throughout city," 14 Oct. 2020 The city’s contribution would be $789,000, Haritos said. Carissa Lamkahouan, Houston Chronicle, "Multiple efforts reflect Friendswood focus on flood control," 6 Oct. 2020 Meanwhile, the average Maryland county contribution to education in 2018 was 36% of its total operating budget., "Voter guide: Franca Muller Paz, City Council (12), Baltimore City," 5 Oct. 2020 Anova’s contribution to steam cooking isn’t just its versatile hardware. Wilson Rothman, WSJ, "From Baking to Sous Vide, This Smart Steam Oven Is Your New Kitchen BFF," 4 Oct. 2020 Illinois' contribution is 150 million stems by 2038., "State of Illinois takes pledge to protect monarch butterfly habitat as numbers dwindle," 26 Sep. 2020 The fastest and cheapest contribution to keep supply in sync with demand when the weather is variable and much of generation is intermittent is to reshape demand to more closely track supply. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "The Heart of California’s Darkness," 17 Sep. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of contribution

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for contribution

see contribute

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about contribution

Time Traveler for contribution

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for contribution

Last Updated

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Contribution.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for contribution


How to pronounce contribution (audio)

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)

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on contribution

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Here Be Dragons: A Creature Identification Quiz

  • monster werewolf photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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