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contain - definition and synonyms


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verb [transitive] contain pronunciation in American English /kənˈteɪn/
Word Forms
present tense
present participlecontaining
past tensecontained
past participlecontained
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  1. 1
    a container, envelope, room, etc. that contains something has something inside it
    The envelope contained a few dried rose petals.
    There were four or five boxes containing toys and books.
    1. a.
      if an area contains something, you will find that thing there
      The area contains some of the richest geological deposits in the country.
      Pretty much everything a tourist would want to see is contained within the walls of the old town.
  2. 2
    if a substance contains something, that thing is a part of it
    Brown rice contains a lot of vitamins and minerals.
    1. a.
      to include something, or to have it as a part
      The information you need is contained in this report.
  3. 3
    to control or hide an emotion
    I couldn’t contain my excitement any longer.
    barely/hardly contain something: Laura barely contained her fury.
  4. 4
    to prevent something harmful from spreading to other people or places
    Firefighters are still battling to contain the blaze.
    Strong measures are urgently needed to contain the epidemic.
    1. a.
      to keep something within limits
      Our main task is to contain expenditure within a budget.



a fashion trend in which people intentionally wear ordinary, inexpensive, widely-available clothing

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a flower or small bunch of flowers worn on the lapel of a jacket on special occasions

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