contain
Pronunciation
  • enPR: kən-tānʹ, IPA: /kənˈteɪn/
Verb

contain (contains, present participle containing; past and past participle contained)

  1. (transitive) To hold inside.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, chapter III, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, […], OCLC 16832619 ↗:
      At half-past nine on this Saturday evening, the parlour of the Salutation Inn, High Holborn, contained most of its customary visitors. […] In former days every tavern of repute kept such a room for its own select circle, a club, or society, of habitués, who met every evening, for a pipe and a cheerful glass.
  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!
    • The king's person contains the unruly people from evil occasions.
    • c. 1590–1592, William Shakespeare, “The Taming of the Shrew”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act INDUCTION, scene i]:
      Fear not, my lord: we can contain ourselves.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, […], OCLC 16832619 ↗, page 16 ↗:
      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 or subset.
    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.
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