contain

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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).

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

contain (third-person singular simple present contains, present participle containing, simple past and past participle contained)

  1. (transitive) To hold inside.
    • 2013 July 20, “Welcome to the plastisphere”, The Economist, volume 408, number 8845: 
      [The researchers] noticed many of their pieces of [plastic marine] debris sported surface pits around two microns across. Such pits are about the size of a bacterial cell. Closer examination showed that some of these pits did, indeed, contain bacteria, […].
  2. (transitive) To include as a part.
  3. (transitive) To put constraint upon; to restrain; to confine; to keep within bounds.
    I'm so excited, I can hardly contain myself!
    • Edmund Spenser (c.1552–1599)
      The king's person contains the unruly people from evil occasions.
    • William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
      Fear not, my lord: we can contain ourselves.
    • 1893, Walter Besant, “Prologue”, in The Ivory Gate:
      Athelstan Arundel walked home all the way, foaming and raging. No omnibus, cab, or conveyance ever built could contain a young man in such a rage. His mother lived at Pembridge Square, which is four good measured miles from Lincoln's Inn.
  4. (mathematics, of a set etc., transitive) To have as an element.
    A group contains a unique inverse for each of its elements.
    If that subgraph contains the vertex in question then it must be spanning.
  5. (obsolete, intransitive) To restrain desire; to live in continence or chastity.
    • Bible, 1 Corinthians vii. 9.
      But if they can not contain, let them marry.

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Translations[edit]

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