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[kuh n-teynd] /kənˈteɪnd/
showing restraint or calmness; controlled; poised:
She was contained throughout the ordeal.
Origin of contained
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English conteynyd. See contain, -ed2
Related forms
[kuh n-tey-nid-lee] /kənˈteɪ nɪd li/ (Show IPA),
subcontained, adjective
uncontained, adjective
well-contained, adjective


[kuh n-teyn] /kənˈteɪn/
verb (used with object)
to hold or include within its volume or area:
This glass contains water. This paddock contains our best horses.
to be capable of holding; have capacity for:
The room will contain 75 persons safely.
to have as contents or constituent parts; comprise; include.
to keep under proper control; restrain:
He could not contain his amusement.
to prevent or limit the expansion, influence, success, or advance of (a hostile nation, competitor, opposing force, natural disaster, etc.):
to contain an epidemic.
to succeed in preventing the spread of:
efforts to contain water pollution.
Mathematics. (of a number) to be a multiple of; be divisible by, without a remainder:
Ten contains five.
to be equal to:
A quart contains two pints.
1250-1300; Middle English conte(y)nen < Anglo-French contener, Old French contenir < Latin continēre, equivalent to con- con- + tenēre to hold (see tenet)
Related forms
containable, adjective
precontain, verb (used with object)
uncontainable, adjective
1. Contain, accommodate, hold, express the idea that something is so designed that something else can exist or be placed within it. Contain refers to what is actually within a given container. Hold emphasizes the idea of keeping within bounds; it refers also to the greatest amount or number that can be kept within a given container. Accommodate means to contain comfortably or conveniently, or to meet the needs of a certain number. A passenger plane that accommodates 50 passengers may be able to hold 60, but at a given time may contain only 30. 3. embody, embrace. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for contained
  • The starch in potatoes is contained in tiny packets called potato buds.
  • Below is a reservoir contained by a pool liner and a pump in a low hole filled with gravel.
  • It's a self-contained ecosystem surrounded by these ridges.
  • They contained everything that was needed to support life underground and were virtually impervious to enemy infiltration.
  • They couldn't tell you whether the skull had contained racist thoughts.
  • Beer's matching with food is extremely complex and many interactions are contained within the felicity of food and beer.
  • As for the information contained within the field guide itself, it varies from section to section.
  • Some contained a full complement of eggs ready for laying.
  • Much to her surprise, she discovered that her unsophisticated images contained seemingly identical fractal patterns.
  • The guts of mice taking the herbal medicine contained fewer dying cells and more dividing cells than those of control animals.
British Dictionary definitions for contained


verb (transitive)
to hold or be capable of holding or including within a fixed limit or area: this contains five pints
to keep (one's feelings, behaviour, etc) within bounds; restrain
to consist of; comprise: the book contains three different sections
(military) to prevent (enemy forces) from operating beyond a certain level or area
  1. to be a multiple of, leaving no remainder: 6 contains 2 and 3
  2. to have as a subset
Derived Forms
containable, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French contenir, from Latin continēre, from com- together + tenēre to hold
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 contained



late 13c., from Old French contein-, stem of contenir, from Latin continere (transitive) "to hold together, enclose," from com- "together" (see com-) + tenere "to hold" (see tenet). Related: Containable.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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