- 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 containing
Methane (chemical formula CH4) is one of the simplest hydrocarbons, which literally means “containing hydrogen and carbon.”Methane on Mars: Life or Just Gas?
Matthew R. Francis
December 17, 2014
The father had a plastic bag in each hand, containing two of the turkeys he had come to pass out to people in the neighborhood.Darren Wilson Wasn’t Indicted—the System Was
November 25, 2014
“Rapid ‘contact tracing’ will be key to containing the disease in West Africa,” it reads.Doctors Without Borders Hits Ebola Breaking Point
Abby Haglage, Kent Sepkowitz
October 21, 2014
Prince William was seen clutching an envelope, when they left, most likely containing images of the scan.Royal Baby Due In April
October 20, 2014
A CDC that seems perplexed by the ABCs of containing a highly predictable outbreak.Disease History Vs. Disease Hysteria
October 19, 2014
I saw it as containing a principle that would work with me if I could work with it.The Conquest of Fear
We went into a large ward, containing some twenty or five-and-twenty beds.The Uncommercial Traveller
One containing a pound of meat may be cooked an hour and a quarter.Culture and Cooking
In the bottom are a number of compartments, all containing quicksilver.Hittel on Gold Mines and Mining
John S. Hittell
Peel and wash a pound of full grown potatoes, grate them on a bread grater into a deep dish, containing a quart of clear water.
- 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 containing
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper