Definition of “contain” - English Dictionary

“contain” in British English

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containverb

uk /kənˈteɪn/ us /kənˈteɪn/

contain verb (HOLD)

B1 [ T not continuous ] to have something inside or include something as a part:

How much liquid do you think this bottle contains?
I lost a file containing a lot of important documents.
Try to avoid foods which contain a lot of fat.
The allegations contained in this report are very serious.

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contain verb (CONTROL)

[ T not continuous ] to keep something harmful within limits and not allow it to spread:

Farms in the area have been closed off in an attempt to contain the disease.
More police were sent to help contain the violence.

C2 [ T often in negatives ] to control or hide a strong emotion, such as excitement or anger:

She could no longer contain her anger and started yelling at him.
humorous Contain yourself! It's not that exciting.

(Definition of “contain” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“contain” in American English

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containverb [ T ]

us /kənˈteɪn/

contain verb [ T ] (HAVE INSIDE)

(of an object or area) to have an amount of something inside or within it:

How much liquid does this bottle contain?
Each large crate contains 12 boxes.

contain verb [ T ] (INCLUDE)

to have as a part, or be equal to; include:

The information contained on forms would be kept strictly confidential.
Each food serving contains 95 calories.
You could retrieve all files that contained certain key words.

contain verb [ T ] (CONTROL)

to keep within limits; not to allow to spread:

Medical teams were scrambling to contain the illness that has already killed thousands in Latin America.

(Definition of “contain” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)