[kuh n-teyn-muh nt]


the act or condition of containing.
an act or policy of restricting the territorial growth or ideological influence of another, especially a hostile nation.
(in a nuclear power plant) an enclosure completely surrounding a nuclear reactor, designed to prevent the release of radioactive material in the event of an accident.

Nearby words

  1. containerboard,
  2. containerization,
  3. containerize,
  4. containerport,
  5. containership,
  6. containment, policy of,
  7. contakion,
  8. contaminant,
  9. contaminate,
  10. contamination

Origin of containment

First recorded in 1645–55; contain + -ment Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for containment

British Dictionary definitions for containment



the act or condition of containing, esp of restraining the ideological or political power of a hostile country or the operations of a hostile military force
(from 1947 to the mid-1970s) a principle of US foreign policy that sought to prevent the expansion of Communist power
Also called: confinement physics the process of preventing the plasma in a controlled thermonuclear reactor from reaching the walls of the reaction vessel, usually by confining it within a configuration of magnetic fieldsSee magnetic bottle
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 containment



1650s, "action or fact of containing," from contain + -ment. As an international policy of the West vs. the Soviet Union, recorded from 1947.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for containment


A policy aimed at controlling the spread of communism around the world, developed in the administration of President Harry S. Truman. The formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949 was an important step in the development of containment.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.