Origin of contact

1620–30; < Latin contāctus a touching, equivalent to contāc- < *contag-, variant stem of contingere to touch (con- con- + -tingere, combining form of tangere to touch) + -tus suffix of v. action; cf. tango, attain
Related forms

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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for contacts

British Dictionary definitions for contacts

contact


noun (ˈkɒntækt)

verb (ˈkɒntækt, kənˈtækt)

(when intr, often foll by with) to put, come, or be in association, touch, or communication

interjection

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
Derived Formscontactual (kɒnˈtæktjʊəl), adjectivecontactually, adverb

Word Origin for contact

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

Medicine definitions for contacts

contact

[ kŏntăkt′ ]

n.

A coming together or touching, as of bodies or surfaces.
A person recently exposed to a contagious disease, usually through close association with an infected individual.

v.

To bring, be, or come in contact.

adj.

Of, sustaining, or making contact.
Caused or transmitted by touching, as a rash.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for contacts

contact

[ kŏntăkt′ ]

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.
Geology The place where two different types of rock, or rocks of different ages, come together.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.