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EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Middle English, borrowed from Old French contenir, from Latin continere (to hold or keep together, comprise, contain), combined form of con- (together) + teneō (to hold).

PronunciationEdit

  • enPR: kən-tānʹ, IPA(key): /kənˈteɪn/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪn
  • Hyphenation: con‧tain

VerbEdit

contain (third-person singular simple present contains, present participle containing, simple past and past participle contained)

  1. (transitive) To hold inside.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, chapter III, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], OCLC 16832619:
      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, [].
  2. (transitive) To include as a part.
    • 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.
  3. (transitive) To put constraint upon; to restrain; to confine; to keep within bounds.
    I'm so excited, I can hardly contain myself!
    • (Can we date this quote?) Edmund Spenser
      The king's person contains the unruly people from evil occasions.
    • (Can we date this quote?) William Shakespeare
      Fear not, my lord: we can contain ourselves.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], OCLC 16832619, 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.
  4. (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.
  5. (obsolete, intransitive) To restrain desire; to live in continence or chastity.
    • Bible, 1 Corinthians vii. 9.
      But if they can not contain, let them marry.

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TranslationsEdit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

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