From Middle English, borrowed from Old French contenir, from Latin continēre (“to hold or keep together, comprise, contain”), combined form of con- (“together”) + teneō (“to hold”).
- enPR: kən-tānʹ, IPA(key): /kənˈteɪn/
- Rhymes: -eɪn
- Hyphenation: con‧tain
contain (third-person singular simple present contains, present participle containing, simple past and past participle contained)
- (transitive) To hold inside.
The brown box contains three stacks of books.
1892, Walter Besant, chapter III, in The Ivory Gate […], New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, […], →OCLC: At half-past nine on this Saturday evening, the parlour of the Salutation Inn, High Holborn, contained most of its customary visitors. […] In former days every tavern of repute kept such a room for its own select circle, a club, or society, of habitués, who met every evening, for a pipe and a cheerful glass. 2013 July 20, “Welcome to the plastisphere”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8845:
[The researchers] noticed many of their pieces of [plastic marine] debris sported surface pits around two microns across. Such pits are about the size of a bacterial cell. Closer examination showed that some of these pits did, indeed, contain bacteria, […].
- (transitive) To include as a part.
Most of the meals they offer contain meat.
2014 April 21, “Subtle effects”, in The Economist, volume 411, number 8884: Manganism has been known about since the 19th century, when miners exposed to ores containing manganese, a silvery metal, began to totter, slur their speech and behave like someone inebriated.
- (transitive) To put constraints upon; to restrain; to confine; to keep within bounds.
I'm so excited, I can hardly contain myself!
c. 1590–1592 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Taming of the Shrew”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act INDUCTION, scene i]:
Fear not, my lord: we can contain ourselves.
1596 (date written; published 1633), Edmund Spenser, A Vewe of the Present State of Irelande […], Dublin: […] Societie of Stationers, […], →OCLC; republished as A View of the State of Ireland […] (Ancient Irish Histories), Dublin: […] Society of Stationers, […] Hibernia Press, […] [b]y John Morrison, 1809, →OCLC: [The king's] only Person is oftentimes instead of an Army, to contain the unruly People from a thousand evil Occasions.
1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate […], New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, […], →OCLC, page 16: Athelstan Arundel walked home all the way, foaming and raging. No omnibus, cab, or conveyance ever built could contain a young man in such a rage. His mother lived at Pembridge Square, which is four good measured miles from Lincoln's Inn.
- (mathematics, of a set etc., transitive) To have as an element or subset.
A group contains a unique inverse for each of its elements.
If that subgraph contains the vertex in question then it must be spanning.
- (obsolete, intransitive) To restrain desire; to live in continence or chastity.
Translations to be checked
- “contain”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.
- “contain”, in The Century Dictionary […], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC.
- “contain”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.