[kuh n-tey-juh n]


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 formscon·ta·gioned, adjectivenon·con·ta·gion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for contagion

Contemporary Examples of contagion

Historical Examples of contagion

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 peoplethe contagion of mirth

Word Origin for contagion

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

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

Medicine definitions for contagion




Disease transmission by direct or indirect contact.
A disease that is or may be transmitted by direct or indirect contact; a contagious disease.
The direct cause, such as a bacterium or virus, of a communicable disease.
The spread of a behavior pattern, attitude, or emotion from person to person or group to group through suggestion, propaganda, rumor, or imitation.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for contagion



The transmission of an infectious disease resulting from direct or indirect contact between individuals or animals.
A disease that is transmitted in this way.
The agent that causes a contagious disease, such as a bacterium or a virus.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.