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[kon-takt] /ˈkɒn tækt/
the act or state of touching; a touching or meeting, as of two things or people.
immediate proximity or association.
an acquaintance, colleague, or relative through whom a person can gain access to information, favors, influential people, and the like.
Electricity. a junction of electric conductors, usually metal, that controls current flow, often completing or interrupting a circuit.
Geology. the interface, generally a planar surface, between strata that differ in lithology or age.
Medicine/Medical. a person who has lately been exposed to an infected person.
Sociology. a condition in which two or more individuals or groups are placed in communication with each other.
verb (used with object)
to put or bring into contact.
to communicate with:
We'll contact you by mail or telephone.
verb (used without object)
to enter into or be in contact.
involving or produced by touching or proximity:
contact allergy.
Origin of contact
1620-30; < Latin contāctus a touching, equivalent to contāc- < *contag-, variant stem of contingere to touch (con- con- + -tingere, combining form of tangere to touch) + -tus suffix of v. action; cf. tango, attain
Related forms
[kon-tak-choo-uh l] /kɒnˈtæk tʃu əl/ (Show IPA),
contactually, adverb
noncontact, noun, adjective
recontact, noun, verb
uncontacted, adjective
Usage note
Many verbs in English have derived from nouns. One can head an organization or toe the mark; butter the bread or bread the cutlet. Hence, grammatically at least, there is no historical justification for the once frequently heard criticism of contact used as a verb meaning “to communicate with”: The managing editor contacted each reporter personally. Despite the earlier objections to it and probably largely because there is no other one-word verb in the language to express the same idea, this use of contact has become standard in all types of speech and writing. Contact as a noun meaning “a person through whom one can gain access to information and the like” is also standard: My contact at the embassy says that the coup has been successful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for contacted
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He disconnected one of the room's tube-lights and contacted with the cathode.

    Wandl the Invader Raymond King Cummings
  • He'd probably be apologizing for weeks to everyone he contacted.

    Final Weapon Everett B. Cole
  • Rastignac had contacted the harbor-master and made arrangements for workmen to unload his cargo of wine.

    Rastignac the Devil Philip Jos Farmer
  • He contacted the Operations people in the bunker over the radio net.

    Next Door, Next World Robert Donald Locke
  • Meanwhile, Bud had warmed up the other radio and contacted Enterprises.

British Dictionary definitions for contacted


noun (ˈkɒntækt)
the act or state of touching physically
the state or fact of close association or communication (esp in the phrases in contact, make contact)
  1. a junction of two or more electrical conductors
  2. the part of the conductors that makes the junction
  3. the part of an electrical device to which such connections are made
an acquaintance, esp one who might be useful in business, as a means of introduction, etc
any person who has been exposed to a contagious disease
(photog) See contact print
(usually pl) an informal name for contact lens
(modifier) of or relating to irritation or inflammation of the skin caused by touching the causative agent: contact dermatitis
(modifier) denoting an insecticide or herbicide that kills on contact, rather than after ingestion or absorption
(modifier) of or maintaining contact
(modifier) requiring or involving (physical) contact: the contact sport of boxing
verb (ˈkɒntækt; kənˈtækt)
when intr, often foll by with. to put, come, or be in association, touch, or communication
(aeronautics) (formerly) a call made by the pilot to indicate that an aircraft's ignition is switched on and that the engine is ready for starting by swinging the propeller
Derived Forms
contactual (kɒnˈtæktjʊəl) adjective
contactually, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin contactus, from contingere to touch on all sides, pollute, from tangere to touch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for contacted



1620s, "action of touching," from Latin contactus "a touching," from past participle of contingere "to touch, seize," from com- "together" (see com-) + tangere "to touch" (see tangent).

Figurative sense of "connection, communication" is from 1818. As a signal to the person about to spin an aircraft propeller that the ignition is switched on, the word was in use by 1913. Contact lens is first recorded 1888; short form contact is from 1961.


1834, "put in contact," from contact (n.). Meaning "get in touch with" is 1927, American English. Related: Contacted; contacting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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contacted in Medicine

contact con·tact (kŏn'tākt')

  1. A coming together or touching, as of bodies or surfaces.

  2. A person recently exposed to a contagious disease, usually through close association with an infected individual.

v. con·tact·ed, con·tact·ing, con·tact·s (kŏn'tākt', kən-tākt')
To bring, be, or come in contact. adj.
  1. Of, sustaining, or making contact.

  2. Caused or transmitted by touching, as a rash.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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contacted in Science
  1. Electricity

    1. A connection between two conductors that allows an electric current to flow.

    2. A part or device that makes or breaks a connection in an electrical circuit.

  2. Geology The place where two different types of rock, or rocks of different ages, come together.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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