- to hold or include within its volume or area: This glass contains water. This paddock contains our best horses.
- to be capable of holding; have capacity for: The room will contain 75 persons safely.
- to have as contents or constituent parts; comprise; include.
- to keep under proper control; restrain: He could not contain his amusement.
- to prevent or limit the expansion, influence, success, or advance of (a hostile nation, competitor, opposing force, natural disaster, etc.): to contain an epidemic.
- to succeed in preventing the spread of: efforts to contain water pollution.
- Mathematics. (of a number) to be a multiple of; be divisible by, without a remainder: Ten contains five.
- to be equal to: A quart contains two pints.
Origin of contain
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. Contain, accommodate, hold, express the idea that something is so designed that something else can exist or be placed within it. Contain refers to what is actually within a given container. Hold emphasizes the idea of keeping within bounds; it refers also to the greatest amount or number that can be kept within a given container. Accommodate means to contain comfortably or conveniently, or to meet the needs of a certain number. A passenger plane that accommodates 50 passengers may be able to hold 60, but at a given time may contain only 30.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for contain
The sequels will contain anything from the Expanded Universe.Juiciest ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Rumors (and Some Debunked Ones)
January 3, 2015
They sacrifice their shelter to contain the walkers—and Judith gets her first action scene!The Walking Dead’s Midseason Finale Shocker: A Cherished Character Meets a Grisly End
December 1, 2014
Green plants in pre-flowering stages may contain significant protein but not fat.What It Takes to Kill a Grizzly Bear
November 23, 2014
And while the stories may contain caveats, the initial headlines certainly did not.Digital Doublethink: Playing Truth or Dare with Putin, Assad and ISIS
Christopher Dickey, Anna Nemtsova
November 16, 2014
A band should definitely go to the health-care workers and soldiers who are working to contain Ebola.It’s Time for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans to Get a Parade of Their Own
November 11, 2014
They are very sour and do not contain sugar in any quantity.Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 5
Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences
On such an occasion, a month after the wedding, she could not contain herself.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.
Another characteristic is the large number of articles which they contain.
With better tools we will proceed to dig into these mounds and discover what they contain.
- to hold or be capable of holding or including within a fixed limit or areathis contains five pints
- to keep (one's feelings, behaviour, etc) within bounds; restrain
- to consist of; comprisethe book contains three different sections
- military to prevent (enemy forces) from operating beyond a certain level or area
- to be a multiple of, leaving no remainder6 contains 2 and 3
- to have as a subset
C13: from Old French contenir, from Latin continēre, from com- together + tenēre to hold
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 contain
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper