con·​tri·​bu·​tion ˌkän-trə-ˈbyü-shən How to pronounce contribution (audio)
plural contributions
: the act of contributing: such as
: 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
: 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
: something that is contributed: such as
: 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.
: 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
: 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
: a payment (such as a levy or tax) imposed by military, civil, or ecclesiastical authorities usually for a special or extraordinary purpose
contributive adjective
contributively adverb

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web However, their contribution is expected to decline in the coming quarters. Trefis Team, Forbes, 27 Jan. 2023 According to the latest IRS filing available, from the fiscal year ending in March 2020, its contribution ballooned to nearly $10.4 million. David Marques, The New Republic, 27 Jan. 2023 His first big contribution was scheduling a game in Louisville's West End against Fisk. Alexis Cubit, The Courier-Journal, 27 Jan. 2023 His contribution not just to TIFF but to SFFILM, the Global Film Initiative, and the entire independent film community around the world was matchless. Julia Maccary, Variety, 26 Jan. 2023 Amazon’s decision to end the program was part of a strategic shift to support initiatives that work on a larger scale, like its $2 billion contribution to build affordable housing, said Patrick Malone, a company spokesperson. Thalia Beaty, Fortune, 25 Jan. 2023 Also at play could be the perception that this aspect of Mr. Katz’s career is somehow less significant than his contribution to modern realist painting. Jennifer Wolcott, The Christian Science Monitor, 24 Jan. 2023 The credits, in turn, can be sold to companies emitting carbon dioxide that need to show reductions in their contribution to such emissions. Alex Baumhardt, oregonlive, 23 Jan. 2023 Their contribution went toward the All-In Challenge, an initiative that aimed to raise $100 million for nonprofits supporting vulnerable communities during the pandemic. Alex Gurley, Peoplemag, 23 Jan. 2023 See More

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.

Word History


see contribute

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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

Dictionary Entries Near contribution

Cite this Entry

“Contribution.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


con·​tri·​bu·​tion ˌkän-trə-ˈbyü-shən How to pronounce contribution (audio)
: the act of contributing
: a sum or a thing contributed
contributive adjective

Legal Definition


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

More from Merriam-Webster on contribution

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