• synonyms


[kuh n-tey-ner]
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  1. anything that contains or can contain something, as a carton, box, crate, or can.
  2. a large, vanlike, reuseable box for consolidating smaller crates or cartons into a single shipment, designed for easy and fast loading and unloading of freight.
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Origin of container

1400–50 for an earlier sense; 1495–1505 for def 1; late Middle English conteiner; see contain, -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

kettle, jar, pot, crate, packet, vessel, dish, storage, bowl, carton, jug, pail, utensil, vase, capsule, sack, pouch, box, tank, package

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British Dictionary definitions for container


  1. an object used for or capable of holding, esp for transport or storage, such as a carton, box, etc
    1. a large cargo-carrying standard-sized container that can be loaded from one mode of transport to another
    2. (as modifier)a container port; a container ship
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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 container


mid-15c., agent noun from contain.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper