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 That was a big part of Jim's contribution, as well. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 13 Sep. 2021 If a job has some tasks that are better done by AI, and some that a human does better, then that human's work contribution can be augmented and improved by AI. Glenn Gow, Forbes, 12 Sep. 2021 This essay series explores Italy’s unique contribution to the rich inheritance of Western civilization, offering a defense of the West’s political and cultural achievements. Joseph Loconte, National Review, 12 Sep. 2021 Winners will each win a $529 CHET account contribution., 10 Sep. 2021 Fruman, 56, pleaded guilty to solicitation of a contribution by a foreign national. Erica Orden, CNN, 10 Sep. 2021 South Milwaukee is getting a $10 million contribution to institutions and infrastructure from the Bucyrus Foundation. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10 Sep. 2021 Igor Fruman, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani, pleaded guilty Friday in Manhattan federal court to soliciting a political contribution from a foreign national. Clare Hymes, CBS News, 10 Sep. 2021 Fruman, from Belarus, pleaded guilty to solicitation of a contribution by a foreign national in federal district court in Manhattan. Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY, 10 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

16 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Contribution.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 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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