from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of or relating to contagion.
  • adjective Transmissible by direct or indirect contact; communicable.
  • adjective Capable of transmitting a disease.
  • adjective Spreading or tending to spread from one to another; infectious.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • 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

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

    January 21, 2013