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

Definition of contribution

1 : a payment (such as a levy or tax) imposed by military, civil, or ecclesiastical authorities usually for a special or extraordinary purpose
2 : the act of contributing also : the thing contributed his $100 contribution to the cancer research fund

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 magazine leaned heavily on the contributions of the comic artist Mort Drucker, who in the 1980s donated to SMALLCAPSNational Review a drawing of Alfred E. Neuman, Mad’s gap-toothed mascot and cover boy on just about every issue. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 11 July 2019 All those organizations — and many more — benefited from Eddie’s contribution of time and treasure. Sal Pizarro, The Mercury News, "Five Wounds Church in San Jose turning 100 years old," 6 July 2019 The Dallas Museum of Art is inconceivable without the contributions of its curator of almost 30 years, John Lunsford, who died earlier this week at 86. Dallas News, "Appreciating John Lunsford, key in spurring Dallas Museum of Art's global reach," 3 July 2019 So far the specific contribution of the cap-and-trade scheme to emissions reductions is hard to measure, says Dallas Burtraw of Resources for the Future, who chairs the programme’s market advisory committee. The Economist, "Can American states slow global warming on their own?," 29 June 2019 Our new study calculated the contribution of this vast infrastructure to climate change. Benjamin Neimark, Quartz, "The US military is a bigger polluter than more than 100 countries combined," 28 June 2019 Annual earnings combine the contribution of hourly wages and annual hours worked, and the latter is, much as Jones’s and Powell’s commentary suggests, a big reason for those earnings gains. Jared Bernstein, Vox, "Low-income communities are finally feeling the expansion. The Fed is noticing.," 26 June 2019 The new award was created to recognize the unique contributions of league members to the organization, which locally got its start in 1966. Melissa Whatley,, "Dulaney High prioritizes 'cleaner and greener'," 26 June 2019 This rendering of history writes out the movement’s scope and sweep, and the contributions of people like Johnson and Rivera. Scott W. Stern, The New Republic, "Remembering Stonewall as It Actually Was—and a Movement as It Really Is," 24 June 2019

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 1

History and Etymology for contribution

see contribute

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about contribution

Statistics for contribution

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for contribution

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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)

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).


something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!