View synonyms for contact


[ kon-takt ]


  1. the act or state of touching; a touching or meeting, as of two things or people.
  2. immediate proximity or association.
  3. an acquaintance, colleague, or relative through whom a person can gain access to information, favors, influential people, and the like.
  4. Electricity. a junction of electric conductors, usually metal, that controls current flow, often completing or interrupting a circuit.
  5. Geology. the interface, generally a planar surface, between strata that differ in lithology or age.
  6. Medicine/Medical. a person who has lately been exposed to an infected person.
  7. Sociology. a condition in which two or more individuals or groups are placed in communication with each other. Compare categoric contact, primary contact, secondary contact, sympathetic contact.

verb (used with object)

  1. to put or bring into contact.
  2. to communicate with:

    We'll contact you by mail or telephone.

verb (used without object)

  1. to enter into or be in contact.


  1. involving or produced by touching or proximity:

    contact allergy.


/ kɒnˈtæktjʊəl /


  1. the act or state of touching physically
  2. the state or fact of close association or communication (esp in the phrases in contact, make contact )
    1. a junction of two or more electrical conductors
    2. the part of the conductors that makes the junction
    3. the part of an electrical device to which such connections are made
  3. an acquaintance, esp one who might be useful in business, as a means of introduction, etc
  4. any person who has been exposed to a contagious disease
  5. photog See contact print
  6. usually plural an informal name for contact lens
  7. modifier of or relating to irritation or inflammation of the skin caused by touching the causative agent

    contact dermatitis

  8. modifier denoting an insecticide or herbicide that kills on contact, rather than after ingestion or absorption
  9. modifier of or maintaining contact
  10. modifier requiring or involving (physical) contact

    the contact sport of boxing


  1. whenintr, often foll by with to put, come, or be in association, touch, or communication


  1. aeronautics (formerly) a call made by the pilot to indicate that an aircraft's ignition is switched on and that the engine is ready for starting by swinging the propeller


/ kŏntăkt′ /

  1. Electricity.
    1. A connection between two conductors that allows an electric current to flow.
    2. A part or device that makes or breaks a connection in an electrical circuit.
  2. Geology.
    The place where two different types of rock, or rocks of different ages, come together.

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Usage Note

Many verbs in English have derived from nouns. One can head an organization or toe the mark; butter the bread or bread the cutlet. Hence, grammatically at least, there is no historical justification for the once frequently heard criticism of contact used as a verb meaning “to communicate with”: The managing editor contacted each reporter personally. Despite the earlier objections to it and probably largely because there is no other one-word verb in the language to express the same idea, this use of contact has become standard in all types of speech and writing. Contact as a noun meaning “a person through whom one can gain access to information and the like” is also standard: My contact at the embassy says that the coup has been successful.

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Derived Forms

  • contactual, adjective
  • conˈtactually, adverb

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Other Words From

  • con·tac·tu·al [kon-, tak, -choo-, uh, l], adjective
  • con·tactu·al·ly adverb
  • non·contact noun adjective
  • re·contact noun verb
  • un·contact·ed adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of contact1

First recorded in 1620–30; from Latin contāctus “a touch,” noun use of past participle of contingere “to touch together, each other, on all sides,” from con- con- + -tingere, combining form of tangere “to touch”; attain, tango

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Word History and Origins

Origin of contact1

C17: from Latin contactus, from contingere to touch on all sides, pollute, from tangere to touch

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Example Sentences

Vox contacted Fischer’s office about why and when the system was deactivated but has not received a response.

From Vox

Know when your state begins mailing ballots, track your ballot and contact your local election office if you haven’t received yours.

The last major Venus orbiter was ESA’s Venus Express, which studied Venus for eight years until engineers lost contact with it, likely because it ran out of fuel.

You’ll typically get options to jump straight into your playlists with a music app, or get quick links to your favorite contacts on a messaging app, to name a couple examples.

It’s not clear whether Quinn is still in contact with state elections officials.

Ney said McDonnell needs to “keep a stiff lip” and stay in close contact with family members.

The spokesman also said that Ambassador King “did not view the movie and did not have any contact directly with Sony.”

In fact, he was in contact with Lansky prior to converging from the hillside onto the streets of Havana.

She had been my point of contact as I was trying to get up there.

“Keeping in contact with those people, and mechanically getting them to the trial, those are the hard parts,” Risner said.

Before Ulm he nearly ruined Napoleon's combination by failing to get in contact with the enemy.

It is sometimes indented, with its convex side in contact with the periphery of the cell.

Other forms of contact rapidly oxidized and went out of business.

In fact, it was to be expected of almost any man who happened to be thrown in contact with Lyn Rowan for any length of time.

There was no engine stopped on account of this accident; but I shall never let the fire come in contact again with the cast iron.