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  1. Usually contents.
    1. something that is contained: the contents of a box.
    2. the subjects or topics covered in a book or document.
    3. the chapters or other formal divisions of a book or document: a table of contents.
  2. something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing, or any of various arts: a poetic form adequate to a poetic content.
  3. significance or profundity; meaning: a clever play that lacks content.
  4. substantive information or creative material viewed in contrast to its actual or potential manner of presentation: publishers, record companies, and other content providers; a flashy website, but without much content.
  5. that which may be perceived in something: the latent versus the manifest content of a dream.
  6. Philosophy, Logic. the sum of the attributes or notions comprised in a given conception; the substance or matter of cognition.
  7. power of containing; holding capacity: The bowl's content is three quarts.
  8. volume, area, or extent; size.
  9. the amount contained.
  10. Linguistics. the system of meanings or semantic values specific to a language (opposed to expression).
    1. Mathematics.the greatest common divisor of all the coefficients of a given polynomial.Compare primitive polynomial.
    2. any abstraction of the concept of length, area, or volume.

Origin of content

1375–1425; late Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Medieval Latin contentum, noun use of neuter of Latin contentus (past participle of continēre to contain), equivalent to con- con- + ten- hold + -tus past participle suffix


  1. satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.
  2. British. agreeing; assenting.
  3. Archaic. willing.
verb (used with object)
  1. to make content: These things content me.
  1. the state or feeling of being contented; satisfaction; contentment: His content was threatened.
  2. (in the British House of Lords) an affirmative vote or voter.

Origin of content

1400–50; late Middle English < Middle French < Latin contentus satisfied, special use of past participle of continēre; see content1
Related formscon·tent·a·ble, adjectivecon·tent·ly, adverbcon·tent·ness, noun

Synonyms for content

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Antonyms for content Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for content

Contemporary Examples of content

Historical Examples of content

  • But I was not content with the first view that had been afforded me at the Exchange.

  • Until the furies got hold of him he was a simple soul, content with simple things.


    William J. Locke

  • Dick would be content if she went about in raiment made of dusters and bath towels.


    William J. Locke

  • Then even if it doesn't sell, even if nobody reads it, I will be content.

    Ballads of a Bohemian

    Robert W. Service

  • It is a patent declaration: "This is only a play; laugh and we are content."

    The Dramatic Values in Plautus

    Wilton Wallace Blancke

British Dictionary definitions for content


  1. (often plural) everything that is inside a containerthe contents of a box
  2. (usually plural)
    1. the chapters or divisions of a book
    2. a list, printed at the front of a book, of chapters or divisions together with the number of the first page of each
  3. the meaning or significance of a poem, painting, or other work of art, as distinguished from its style or form
  4. all that is contained or dealt with in a discussion, piece of writing, etc; substance
  5. the capacity or size of a thing
  6. the proportion of a substance contained in an alloy, mixture, etcthe lead content of petrol

Word Origin for content

C15: from Latin contentus contained, from continēre to contain


adjective (postpositive)
  1. mentally or emotionally satisfied with things as they are
  2. assenting to or willing to accept circumstances, a proposed course of action, etc
  1. (tr) to make (oneself or another person) content or satisfiedto content oneself with property
  1. peace of mind; mental or emotional satisfaction
  1. British (in the House of Lords) a formal expression of assent, as opposed to the expression not content
Derived Formscontently, adverbcontentment, noun

Word Origin for content

C14: from Old French, from Latin contentus contented, that is, having restrained desires, from continēre to restrain
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 content

early 15c., from Middle French contenter, from content (adj.) "satisfied," from Latin contentus "contained, satisfied," past participle of continere (see contain). Sense evolved through "contained," "restrained," to "satisfied," as the contented person's desires are bound by what he or she already has. Related: Contented; contentedly.


c.1400, from Old French content, "satisfied," from Latin contentus "contained, satisfied," past participle of continere (see contain). Related: Contently (largely superseded by contentedly).


"that which is contained," early 15c., from Latin contentum, contenta, noun use of past participle of continere (see contain). Meaning "satisfaction" is from 1570s; heart's content is from 1590s (Shakespeare).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

content in Medicine


  1. Something contained, as in a receptacle.
  2. The proportion of a specified substance present in something else, as of protein in a food.
  3. The subject matter or essential meaning of something, especially a dream.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with content


see to one's heart's content.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.