American English

Definition of contain verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they contain
    he / she / it contains
    past simple contained
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  1. 1(not used in the progressive tenses)
  2. 2contain something if something contains something else, it has that thing inside it or as part of it This drink doesn't contain any alcohol. Her statement contained one or two inaccuracies. a brown envelope containing dollar bills The bottle contains (= can hold) two quarts.
  3. 3contain something to keep your feelings under control synonym restrain She was unable to contain her excitement. I was so furious I just couldn't contain myself (= I had to express my feelings).
  4. 4contain something to prevent something harmful from spreading or getting worse to contain an epidemic Government forces have failed to contain the rebellion.
  5. 5contain something (mathematics) to be able to be divided exactly by a number Ten contains five and two, but not three.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: contain