• synonyms


  1. satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.
  2. British. agreeing; assenting.
  3. Archaic. willing.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to make content: These things content me.
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  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.
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Origin of content2

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



Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for contenting

Historical Examples

  • Contenting himself with this preface, Roderick began to read.

    The Christmas Banquet (From "Mosses From An Old Manse")

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • However, he gave no sign, contenting himself with a cordial reply.

    The Night Riders

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • But Charles was far from contenting himself with foreseeing them.

  • He hesitated as between chiding and contenting her—then he handsomely chose.

    The Outcry

    Henry James

  • It was 'not to my contenting,' as afterwards said Ralegh, who wrote again.

    Sir Walter Ralegh

    William Stebbing

British Dictionary definitions for contenting


  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
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Word Origin

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
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  1. (tr) to make (oneself or another person) content or satisfiedto content oneself with property
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  1. peace of mind; mental or emotional satisfaction
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  1. British (in the House of Lords) a formal expression of assent, as opposed to the expression not content
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Derived Formscontently, adverbcontentment, noun

Word Origin

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 contenting



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.

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 Related: Contently (largely superseded by contentedly).

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"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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

contenting 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.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with contenting


see to one's heart's content.

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