Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of or relating to contagion.
  • adj. Transmissible by direct or indirect contact; communicable: a contagious disease.
  • adj. Capable of transmitting disease; carrying a disease: stayed at home until he was no longer contagious.
  • adj. Spreading or tending to spread from one to another; infectious: a contagious smile.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of a disease, easily transmitted to others.
  • adj. Of a fashion, laughter, etc., easily passed on to others.
  • adj. Of a person, having a disease that can be transmitted to another person by touch.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Communicable by contact, by a virus, or by a bodily exhalation; catching.
  • adj. Conveying or generating disease; pestilential; poisonous.
  • adj. Spreading or communicable from one to another; exciting similar emotions or conduct in others.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Communicable by contagion; that may be imparted by contact or by emanations; catching: as, a contagious disease.
  • Containing or generating contagion; poisonous; pestilential: as, contagious air; contagious clothing.
  • Propagated by influence or incitement; exciting like feeling or action; spreading or liable to spread from one to another: as, contagious example; a contagious speculation.
  • Arising from or due to contagion, in either sense; brought about by propagation or incitement: as, a contagious epidemic.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. (of disease) capable of being transmitted by infection
  • adj. easily diffused or spread as from one person to another

Etymologies

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Examples

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  • Railroad telegraphers' shorthand for "Advise if _____ stock has arrived; If so, what is condition?" --US Railway Association, Standard Cipher Code, 1906.

    January 21, 2013


  • Elephants are contagious!
    Be careful how you tread.
    An Elephant that's been trodden on
    Should be confined to bed!

    Leopards are contagious too.
    Be careful tiny tots.
    They don't give you a temperature
    But lots and lots - of spots.

    - Spike Milligan, 'Contagion'.

    July 6, 2009