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Back-formation from contraception.[1] Attested US 1932, with earlier occasional use as abbreviation for contraceptive in the medical literature;[2] popularized US mid-1960s[1] in the context of the sexual revolution.


contracept (third-person singular simple present contracepts, present participle contracepting, simple past and past participle contracepted)

  1. (intransitive) To use contraception
    • 1932, On the meaning of life, Will Durant, R. Long & R.R. Smith, Inc., p. 121:
      Through the wisdom of our legislators, only the intelligent may contracept, while the stupid are commanded to reproduce their kind.
    • 1965, Stephen J. Plank, quoted in “Professor Warns Against Assuming Birth Pill To Cure Population Boom”, The Harvard Crimson, January 05, 1966:
      … the facile assumption that we may be able to contracept our way to the Great Society.
    • 1983, Toni Richards, Comparative analysis of fertility, breastfeeding, and contraception: a dynamic model[1], National Academies, page 27:
      it is also assumed that women who breastfeed being contracepting as soon as they stop breastfeeding unless the sum of the duration of breastfeeding and the duration of contraception is greater than the length of the interval from last birth to next conception
  2. (transitive) To administer contraception, especially to a population of wild animals

Usage notes[edit]

In sense “to use contraception”, uncommon – more common is phrasal “use contraceptives” or “use contraception”.


  1. 1.0 1.1 contracept” in Unabridged,, LLC, 1995–present.
  2. ^ For example, The Medical critic and guide, Volumes 6–7, 1906, p. 40 contains “… it would be a million times better, if the poor sinning girl could use a contracept [contraceptive], than that she should have to have recourse later to poisonous drugs, to the abortionist or, failing these, to the carbolic acid bottle or the river.”