The verb contain has many shades of meaning but it often describes something that's held back or held in by something. Kids on the last day of school may find it hard to contain their glee when summer officially starts.

Picture Times Square on New Year's Eve. People can barely contain — or hold back — their excitement at being there. They clutch cups that contain — or hold — hot drinks that help them stay warm. The police set up barriers to contain — or restrain — the crowd to keep everyone under control. The next morning, the heaps of trash on the street will contain — or include — streamers, party hats, and cups.

Definitions of contain
  1. verb
    contain or hold; have within
    “This can contains water”
    synonyms: bear, carry, hold
    hold, take
    be capable of holding or containing
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    hold back within
    confine, enclose, hold in
    close in; "darkness confined him"
    border, bound
    form the boundary of; be contiguous to
    enclose with banks, as for support or protection
    rail, rail in
    enclose with rails
    box in, box up
    enclose or confine as if in a box
    enclose in a frame, as of a picture
    type of:
    have as a part; be made up out of
  2. verb
    include or contain; have as a component
    “The record contains many old songs from the 1930's”
    synonyms: comprise, incorporate
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    type of:
    have as a part; be made up out of
  3. verb
    be capable of holding or containing
    synonyms: hold, take
    bear, carry, hold
    contain or hold; have within
    accommodate, admit, hold
    have room for; hold without crowding
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    type of:
    have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)
  4. verb
    hold back, as of a danger or an enemy; check the expansion or influence of
    Contain the rebel movement”
    synonyms: arrest, check, hold back, stop, turn back
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    cut down, cut out
    intercept (a player)
    type of:
    be on the defensive; act against an attack
  5. verb
    lessen the intensity of; temper; hold in restraint; hold or keep within limits
    synonyms: check, control, curb, hold, hold in, moderate
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    bound, confine, limit, restrain, restrict, throttle, trammel
    place limits on (extent or access)
    conquer, curb, inhibit, stamp down, subdue, suppress
    to put down by force or authority
    restrain or discourage
    crucify, mortify, subdue
    hold within limits and control
    abnegate, deny
    deny oneself (something); restrain, especially from indulging in some pleasure
    place under restrictions; limit access to
    cause to grow in a certain way by tying and pruning it
    check oneself during an action
    moderate or restrain; lessen the force of
    control the temperature with a thermostat
    counteract, countercheck
    oppose or check by a counteraction
    blink, blink away, wink
    force to go away by blinking
    reduce, tighten
    narrow or limit
    limit or restrict to
    restrict (school boys') movement to the dormitory or campus as a means of punishment
    draw a line, draw the line
    reasonably object (to) or set a limit (on)
    mark off, mark out
    set boundaries to and delimit
    harness, rein, rule
    keep in check
    baffle, regulate
    check the emission of (sound)
    cramp, halter, hamper, strangle
    prevent the progress or free movement of
    dampen, stifle
    smother or suppress
    choke back, choke down, choke off
    constrain, stiffen, tighten, tighten up
    clamp down, crack down
    repress or suppress (something regarded as undesirable)
    hush, hush up, quieten, shut up, silence, still
    cause to be quiet or not talk
    constrict, inhibit
    limit the range or extent of
    get rid of, silence, or suppress
    keep from expression, for example by threats or pressure
    quell, quench, squelch
    suppress or crush completely
    constrain, cumber, encumber, restrain
    hold back
    muffle, repress, smother, stifle, strangle
    conceal or hide
    practice self-denial of one's body and appetites
    declare unavailable, as for security reasons
    declare as sacred and forbidden
    train on a trellis, as of a vine
    scant, skimp
    limit in quality or quantity
    localise, localize
    restrict something to a particular area
    type of:
    hold back, keep, keep back, restrain
    keep under control; keep in check
  6. verb
    be divisible by
    “24 contains 6”
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    type of:
    have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)
Word Family

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