Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[kuh n-tey-juh n] /kənˈteɪ dʒən/
the communication of disease by direct or indirect contact.
a disease so communicated.
the medium by which a contagious disease is transmitted.
harmful or undesirable contact or influence.
the ready transmission or spread as of an idea or emotion from person to person:
a contagion of fear.
Origin of contagion
1350-1400; Middle English (< Middle French) < Latin contāgiōn- (stem of contāgiō) contact, infection, equivalent to con- con- + tāg- (variant stem of tangere to touch) + -iōn- -ion; cf. contact
Related forms
contagioned, adjective
noncontagion, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for contagion
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It seemed for a moment as if the contagion might break out in the audience, but the symptom passed.

    Bonaventure George Washington Cable
  • The work of "popularization" consists in bringing about this contagion.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • The bed of a consumptive, it is well known, is a powerful source of contagion.

    The Physical Life of Woman: Dr. George H Napheys
  • But personally she always felt the contagion, always conformed to the rush.

    The Marriages Henry James
  • Persons suffering with serious disease of a character communicable to others by contagion or by hereditary transmission.

    Plain Facts for Old and Young John Harvey Kellogg
British Dictionary definitions for contagion


the transmission of disease from one person to another by direct or indirect contact
a contagious disease
another name for contagium
a corrupting or harmful influence that tends to spread; pollutant
the spreading of an emotional or mental state among a number of people: the contagion of mirth
Word Origin
C14: from Latin contāgiō a touching, infection, from contingere; see contact
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for contagion

late 14c., from Old French contagion, from Latin contagionem (nominative contagio) "a touching, contact, contagion," related to contingere "touch closely" (see contact (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
contagion in Medicine

contagion con·ta·gion (kən-tā'jən)

  1. Disease transmission by direct or indirect contact.

  2. A disease that is or may be transmitted by direct or indirect contact; a contagious disease.

  3. See contagium.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
contagion in Science
  1. The transmission of an infectious disease resulting from direct or indirect contact between individuals or animals.

  2. A disease that is transmitted in this way.

  3. The agent that causes a contagious disease, such as a bacterium or a virus.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for contagion

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for contagion

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for contagion