verb (used with object)

  1. to hold or include within its volume or area: This glass contains water. This paddock contains our best horses.
  2. to be capable of holding; have capacity for: The room will contain 75 persons safely.
  3. to have as contents or constituent parts; comprise; include.
  4. to keep under proper control; restrain: He could not contain his amusement.
  5. to prevent or limit the expansion, influence, success, or advance of (a hostile nation, competitor, opposing force, natural disaster, etc.): to contain an epidemic.
  6. to succeed in preventing the spread of: efforts to contain water pollution.
  7. Mathematics. (of a number) to be a multiple of; be divisible by, without a remainder: Ten contains five.
  8. to be equal to: A quart contains two pints.

verb (tr)

  1. to hold or be capable of holding or including within a fixed limit or areathis contains five pints
  2. to keep (one’s feelings, behaviour, etc) within bounds; restrain
  3. to consist of; comprisethe book contains three different sections
  4. military to prevent (enemy forces) from operating beyond a certain level or area
  5. maths
    1. to be a multiple of, leaving no remainder6 contains 2 and 3
    2. to have as a subset

v.late 13c., from Old French contein-, stem of contenir, from Latin continere (transitive) “to hold together, enclose,” from com- “together” (see com-) + tenere “to hold” (see tenet). Related: Containable.

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