Definitions

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

  • transitive verb To have within; hold.
  • transitive verb To be capable of holding.
  • transitive verb To have as a component or constituent part; include.
  • transitive verb To hold or keep within limits; restrain.
  • transitive verb To halt the spread or development of; check.
  • transitive verb To check the expansion or influence of (a hostile power or ideology) by containment.
  • transitive verb Mathematics To be exactly divisible by.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To hold (a body of troops) in position, usually by deploying the containing force in its front and threatening an attack.
  • To hold within fixed limits; comprehend; comprise; include; hold.
  • To be capable of holding; have, as a vessel, an internal volume equal to: as, this vessel contains two gallons.
  • To comprise, as a writing; have as contents.
  • To hold in opinion; regard (with).
  • Reflexively, to conduct or deport (one's self); hence, to act; do.
  • To put restraint on; restrain; retain; withhold.
  • Reflexively, to keep within bounds; hold in; moderate.
  • In mathematics, to be divisible by, without a remainder.
  • To restrain or control desire, action, or emotion.
  • To exist; be held or included; be or remain.
  • 3. To conduct one's self; appear in action; behave.

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

  • intransitive verb To restrain desire; to live in continence or chastity.
  • transitive verb To hold within fixed limits; to comprise; to include; to inclose; to hold.
  • transitive verb To have capacity for; to be able to hold; to hold; to be equivalent to.
  • transitive verb Obs., exept as used reflexively. To put constraint upon; to restrain; to confine; to keep within bounds.

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

  • verb transitive : To hold inside.
  • verb transitive : To include as a part.
  • verb transitive : To limit through restraint.
  • verb mathematics, transitive To have as an element.
  • verb obsolete, intransitive To restrain desire; to live in continence or chastity.

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

  • verb contain or hold; have within
  • verb include or contain; have as a component
  • verb be divisible by
  • verb be capable of holding or containing
  • verb hold back, as of a danger or an enemy; check the expansion or influence of
  • verb lessen the intensity of; temper; hold in restraint; hold or keep within limits

Etymologies

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

[Middle English conteinen, from Old French contenir, from Latin continēre : com-, com- + tenēre, to hold; see ten- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

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