A container holds things inside it. Bags, boxes, buckets, and pockets are all containers.

The purpose of a container is to carry, hold, or store something. You might buy nuts at the grocery store, then bring them home and put them in a container, or you could put your leftover pasta in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for tomorrow's lunch. The thing all containers have in common is that they contain, or hold, things. Both words are rooted in the Latin continere, "to hold together or enclose."

Definitions of container

n any object that can be used to hold things (especially a large metal boxlike object of standardized dimensions that can be loaded from one form of transport to another)

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Ark of the Covenant
(Judaism) sacred chest where the ancient Hebrews kept the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments
Holy Grail
(legend) chalice used by Christ at the Last Supper
a commercial aquarium featuring trained dolphins
Pandora's box
(Greek mythology) a box that Zeus gave to Pandora with instructions that she not open it; she gave in to her curiosity and opened it; all the miseries and evils flew out to afflict mankind
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a flexible container with a single opening
bag, handbag, pocketbook, purse
a container used for carrying money and small personal items or accessories (especially by women)
basket, handbasket
a container that is usually woven and has handles
a container; usually has a lid
bowl, pipe bowl
a small round container that is open at the top for holding tobacco
a (usually rectangular) container; may have a lid
bread-bin, breadbox
a container used to keep bread or cake in
a large container for storing fuel
can, tin, tin can
airtight sealed metal container for food or drink or paint etc.
canister, cannister, tin
metal container for storing dry foods such as tea or flour
a small container
cargo container
a large container for freight
a portable container for carrying several objects
case, display case, showcase, vitrine
a glass container used to store and display items in a shop or museum or home
a container that holds a magnetic tape used for recording or playing sound or video
a small open container usually used for drinking; usually has a handle
a cylindrical container for oxygen or compressed air
dice box, dice cup
a small container (open at one end) in which dice are shaken by hand and from which they are thrown
a piece of dishware normally used as a container for holding or serving food
a container so designed that the contents can be used in prescribed amounts
a boxlike container in a piece of furniture; made so as to slide in and out
a container designed to receive and transport and dump waste
a container that has been emptied
a flat (usually rectangular) container for a letter, thin package, etc.
drinking glass, glass
a container for holding liquids while drinking
grab bag
a container from which a person draws a wrapped item at random without knowing the contents
magnetic bottle
container consisting of any configuration of magnetic fields used to contain a plasma during controlled thermonuclear reactions
a container for something to be mailed
manger, trough
a container (usually in a barn or stable) from which cattle or horses feed
a container of some standard capacity that is used to obtain fixed amounts of a substance
cast, mold, mould
container into which liquid is poured to create a given shape when it hardens
package, parcel
a wrapped container
shallow container made of metal
fuel pod, pod
a detachable container of fuel on an airplane
flowerpot, pot
a container in which plants are cultivated
powder flask, powder horn
container for carrying gunpowder; made of the hollow horn of an animal
a container that is used to put or keep things in
a container where religious relics are stored or displayed (especially relics of saints)
a small container for holding salt at the dining table
bank, coin bank, money box, savings bank
a container (usually with a slot in the top) for keeping money at home
coal scuttle, scuttle
container for coal; shaped to permit pouring the coal onto the fire
a container in which something can be shaken
a piece of cutlery with a shallow bowl-shaped container and a handle; used to stir or serve or take up food
storage ring
container consisting of a set of magnets set in a doughnut-shaped ring around which charged particles from an accelerator can be kept circulating until they are used
a small metal cap to protect the finger while sewing; can be used as a small container
time capsule
container for preserving historical records to be discovered at some future time
an object used as a container (especially for liquids)
circular file, waste basket, waste-paper basket, wastebasket, wastepaper basket
a container with an open top; for discarded paper and other rubbish
watering can, watering pot
a container with a handle and a spout with a perforated nozzle; used to sprinkle water over plants
wheeled vehicle
a vehicle that moves on wheels and usually has a container for transporting things or people
workbag, workbasket, workbox
container for holding implements and materials for work (especially for sewing)
aerosol, aerosol bomb, aerosol can, aerosol container, spray can
a dispenser that holds a substance under pressure and that can release it as a fine spray (usually by means of a propellant gas)
air bag
a safety restraint in an automobile; the bag inflates on collision and prevents the driver or passenger from being thrown forward
a mailer for airmail
ash bin, ash-bin, ashbin, ashcan, dustbin, garbage can, trash barrel, trash bin, trash can, wastebin
a bin that holds rubbish until it is collected
a receptacle fitted beneath the grate in which ashes collect and are removed
a receptacle for the ash from smokers' cigars or cigarettes
atomiser, atomizer, nebuliser, nebulizer, spray, sprayer
a dispenser that turns a liquid (such as perfume) into a fine mist
a cassette for audiotape
autoclave, steriliser, sterilizer
a device for heating substances above their boiling point; used to manufacture chemicals or to sterilize surgical instruments
baby buggy, baby carriage, carriage, go-cart, perambulator, pram, pushchair, pusher, stroller
a small vehicle with four wheels in which a baby or child is pushed around
back pack, backpack, haversack, knapsack, packsack, rucksack
a bag carried by a strap on your back or shoulder
baggage, luggage
cases used to carry belongings when traveling
a large pan that is filled with hot water; smaller pans containing food can be set in the larger pan to keep food warm or to cook food slowly
ballot box
a box where voters deposit their ballots
a light cylindrical box for holding light articles of attire (especially hats)
barrel, cask
a cylindrical container that holds liquids
a bowl-shaped vessel; usually used for holding food or liquids
a vessel containing liquid in which something is immersed (as to process it or to maintain it at a constant temperature or to lubricate it)
bath, bathing tub, bathtub, tub
a relatively large open container that you fill with water and use to wash the body
a cup (usually without a handle)
a small cloth bag filled with dried beans; thrown in games
a shallow vessel used by a bedridden patient for defecation and urination
beehive, hive
a man-made receptacle that houses a swarm of bees
beer can
a can that holds beer
beer glass
a relatively large glass for serving beer
bicycle, bike, cycle, wheel
a wheeled vehicle that has two wheels and is moved by foot pedals
a bag that fills with air
body bag, human remains pouch, personnel pouch
a bag in which the body of a dead soldier is placed
boiler, steam boiler
sealed vessel where water is converted to steam
bone-ash cup, cupel, refractory pot
a small porous bowl made of bone ash used in assaying to separate precious metals from e.g. lead
any wheeled vehicle that is dilapidated and uncomfortable
book bag
a bag in which students carry their books
a glass or plastic vessel used for storing drinks or other liquids; typically cylindrical without handles and with a narrow neck that can be plugged or capped
bottle, feeding bottle, nursing bottle
a vessel fitted with a flexible teat and filled with milk or formula; used as a substitute for breast feeding infants and very young children
a dish that is round and open at the top for serving foods
a round vessel that is open at the top; used chiefly for holding food or liquids;
a basket for serving bread
a case with a handle; for carrying papers or files or books
bucket, pail
a roughly cylindrical vessel that is open at the top
a glass filled to the brim (especially as a toast)
bundle, sheaf
a package of several things tied together for carrying or storing
bunk, feed bunk
a long trough for feeding cattle
burn bag
a bag into which secret documents are placed before being burned
bushel basket
a basket large enough to hold a bushel
butter dish
a small dish (often with a cover) for holding butter at the table
caddy, tea caddy
a can for storing tea
a small can
car, railcar, railroad car, railway car
a wheeled vehicle adapted to the rails of railroad
a small case for carrying business cards
carryall, holdall, tote, tote bag
a capacious bag or basket
a box made of cardboard; opens by flaps on top
case, compositor's case, typesetter's case
(printing) the receptacle in which a compositor has his type, which is divided into compartments for the different letters, spaces, or numbers
casket, jewel casket
small and often ornate box for holding jewels or other valuables
large deep dish in which food can be cooked and served
caster, castor
a shaker with a perforated top for sprinkling powdered sugar
cat box
a receptacle for cat excrement
an enclosure or receptacle for odds and ends
censer, thurible
a container for burning incense (especially one that is swung on a chain in a religious ritual)
cereal box
a paper box in which breakfast cereals are sold
chalice, goblet
a bowl-shaped drinking vessel; especially the Eucharistic cup
chamberpot, potty, thunder mug
a receptacle for urination or defecation in the bedroom
box with a lid; used for storage; usually large and sturdy
butter churn, churn
a vessel in which cream is agitated to separate butterfat from buttermilk
cigar box
a box for holding cigars
cigarette case
a small flat case for holding cigarettes; can be carried in a purse or a pocket
clutch, clutch bag
a woman's strapless purse that is carried in the hand
coalbin, coalhole
a bin for holding coal
cocktail shaker
a shaker for mixing cocktails
coffee can
a can for storing ground coffee
coffee cup
a cup from which coffee is drunk
casket, coffin
box in which a corpse is buried or cremated
coin box
the part of a slot machine that serves as a receptacle for the coins
compact, powder compact
a small cosmetics case with a mirror; to be carried in a woman's purse
a dish in the form of a scallop shell
a rugged box (usually made of wood); used for shipping
a wicker basket used by anglers to hold fish
a bin or granary for storing grains
crucible, melting pot
a vessel made of material that does not melt easily; used for high temperature chemical reactions
dessert spoon
a spoon larger than a teaspoon and smaller than a tablespoon
large pan for washing dishes
dispatch box, dispatch case
case consisting of an oblong container (usually having a lock) for carrying dispatches or other valuables
Dixie cup, paper cup
a disposable cup made of paper; for holding drinks
drawstring bag
a bag that is closed at the top with a drawstring
drinking vessel
a vessel intended for drinking
drip pan
pan under a refrigerator for collecting liquid waste
drum, metal drum
a cylindrical metal container used for shipping or storage of liquids
dust bag, vacuum bag
a bag into which dirt is sucked by a vacuum cleaner
a short-handled receptacle into which dust can be swept
envelope, gasbag
the bag containing the gas in a balloon
small ornamental ladies' bag for small articles
evening bag
a handbag used with evening wear
eye cup, eyebath, eyecup
a small vessel with a rim curved to fit the orbit of the eye; use to apply medicated or cleansing solution to the eyeball
a large metal or pottery vessel with a handle and spout; used to hold alcoholic beverages (usually wine)
a shallow box in which seedlings are started
flour bin
a bin for holding flour
a mold for setting concrete
a basket for holding dried fruit (especially raisins or figs)
a canvas or leather bag for carrying game (especially birds) killed by a hunter
a receptacle where waste can be discarded
glasses case
a case for carrying spectacles
a drinking glass with a base and stem
golf bag
golf equipment consisting of a bag for carrying golf clubs and balls
grace cup
cup to be passed around for the final toast after a meal
boat, gravy boat, gravy holder, sauceboat
a dish (often boat-shaped) for serving gravy or sauce
gun case
a case for storing a gun
burlap bag, gunny sack, gunnysack
a bag made of burlap
a basket usually with a cover
cart, go-cart, handcart, pushcart
wheeled vehicle that can be pushed by a person; may have one or two or four wheels
highball glass
a tall glass for serving highballs
an open box attached to a long pole handle; bricks or mortar are carried on the shoulder
funnel-shaped receptacle; contents pass by gravity into a receptacle below
horse-drawn vehicle
a wheeled vehicle drawn by one or more horses
hot-water bag, hot-water bottle
a stoppered receptacle (usually made of rubber) that is to be filled with hot water and used for warming a bed or parts of the body
ice bag, ice pack
a waterproof bag filled with ice: applied to the body (especially the head) to cool or reduce swelling
in-basket, in-tray
a wood or metal receptacle placed on your desk to hold your incoming material
inhalator, inhaler
a dispenser that produces a chemical vapor to be inhaled in order to relieve nasal congestion
a vessel (usually cylindrical) with a wide mouth and without handles
a case for containing a set of articles
cylix, kylix
a shallow drinking cup with two handles; used in ancient Greece
a spoon-shaped vessel with a long handle; frequently used to transfer liquids from one container to another
letter case
case for carrying letters
liqueur glass
a small glass for serving a small amount of liqueur (typically after dinner)
litter basket, litter-basket, litterbin
bin (usually in or outside a public building) into which the public can put rubbish
a small ornamental case; usually contains a picture or a lock of hair and is worn on a necklace
mailbag, postbag
letter carrier's shoulder bag
letter box, mailbox
a private box for delivery of mail
a box for holding matches
mold used in the production of phonograph records, type, or other relief surface
measuring cup
graduated cup used to measure liquid or granular ingredients
milk can
large can for transporting milk
monstrance, ostensorium
(Roman Catholic Church) a vessel (usually of gold or silver) in which the consecrated Host is exposed for adoration
a bowl-shaped vessel in which substances can be ground and mixed with a pestle
motor scooter, scooter
a wheeled vehicle with small wheels and a low-powered gasoline engine geared to the rear wheel
a vessel in which wine is mulled
moustache cup, mustache cup
a drinking cup with a bar inside the rim to keep a man's mustache out of the drink
feedbag, nosebag
a canvas bag that is used to feed an animal (such as a horse); covers the muzzle and fastens at the top of the head
a can with a long nozzle to apply oil to machinery
any receptacle for the burial of human bones
out-basket, out-tray
a wood or metal receptacle placed on your desk to hold your outgoing material
a convenient package or parcel (as of cigarettes or film)
a small package or bundle
a capsule filled with water-soluble dye used as a projectile in playing the game of paintball
a box containing a collection of cubes or tubes of artists' paint
either of a pair of bags or boxes hung over the rear wheel of a vehicle (as a bicycle)
a small pan or cup (usually of tin)
parfait glass
a tall slender glass with a short stem in which parfait is served
parts bin
a bin for holding spare parts
pencil box, pencil case
a box for holding pencils
pepper box, pepper pot, pepper shaker
a shaker with a perforated top for sprinkling ground pepper
Petri dish
a shallow dish used to culture bacteria
pig, pig bed
mold consisting of a bed of sand in which pig iron is cast
penny bank, piggy bank
a child's coin bank (often shaped like a pig)
a small case for holding pills
ewer, pitcher
an open vessel with a handle and a spout for pouring
a decorative pot for house plants
plastic bag
a bag made of thin plastic material
collection plate, plate
a shallow receptacle for collection in church
play-box, playbox
a box for a child's toys and personal things (especially at a boarding school)
a cooking vessel designed to poach food (such as fish or eggs)
alms box, mite box, poor box
box for collecting alms, especially one in a church
a large, flat, thin case for carrying loose papers or drawings or maps; usually leather
metal or earthenware cooking vessel that is usually round and deep; often has a handle and lid
a small or medium size container for holding or carrying things
a small light basket used as a measure for fruits
a small bag for carrying money
pix, pyx
any receptacle in which wafers for the Eucharist are kept
a small box used by ancient Greeks to hold medicines
case for holding arrows
a bag in which rags are kept
ramekin, ramequin
a small fireproof dish used for baking and serving individual portions
recycling bin
a bin for depositing things to be recycled
a woman's drawstring handbag; usually made of net or beading or brocade; used in 18th and 19th centuries
a vessel where substances are distilled or decomposed by heat
rolling stock
collection of wheeled vehicles owned by a railroad or motor carrier
a dispenser of a liquid cosmetic (such as a deodorant) having a revolving ball as an applicator
rosin bag
a bag filled with rosin; used by baseball pitchers to improve their grip on the ball
a large drinking glass (ovoid bowl on a stem) for drinking toasts
runcible spoon
a fork-like spoon with a cutting edge; coined by Edward Lear
a small soft bag containing perfumed powder; used to perfume items in a drawer or chest
carrier bag, paper bag, poke, sack
a bag made of paper or plastic for holding customer's purchases
a large bag (or pair of bags) hung over a saddle
salt shaker, saltshaker
a shaker with a perforated top for sprinkling salt
a bag filled with sand; used as a weapon or to build walls or as ballast
mold consisting of a box with sand shaped to mold metal
a receptacle for catching waste products for further use
a bag for carrying school books and supplies
a large beer glass
child's two-wheeled vehicle operated by foot
an ancient Greek drinking cup; two handles and footed base
a glass for beer
self-propelled vehicle
a wheeled vehicle that carries in itself a means of propulsion
serving dish
a dish used for serving food
sewing basket
a workbasket in which sewing materials can be stored
shadow box
a shallow rectangular box with a transparent front used to protect and display small items (jewelry, coins, etc.)
(card games) a case from which playing cards are dealt one at a time
an oblong rectangular (usually cardboard) box designed to hold a pair of shoes
shopping bag
a bag made of plastic or strong paper (often with handles); used to transport goods after shopping
shopping basket
a handbasket used to carry goods while shopping
jigger, pony, shot glass
a small glass adequate to hold a single swallow of whiskey
shoulder bag
a large handbag that can be carried by a strap looped over the shoulder
sick bag, sickbag
a bag provided on an airplane for passengers who are suffering from airsickness and need to vomit
silent butler
a small receptacle with a handle and a hinged lid; used for collecting crumbs or ashes
a board with wheels that is ridden in a standing or crouching position and propelled by foot
a large round wicker basket (used on farms)
a bag serving as a container for liquids; it is made from the hide of an animal
sleeping bag
large padded bag designed to be slept in outdoors; usually rolls up like a bedroll
small case into which an object fits
slinger ring
dispenser consisting of a tubular ring around the propeller hub of an airplane through which antifreeze solution is spread over the blades
brandy glass, brandy snifter, snifter
a globular glass with a small top; used for serving brandy
a small ornamental box for carrying snuff in your pocket
soap dispenser
dispenser of liquid soap
receptacle where something (a pipe or probe or end of a bone) is inserted
soda can
a can for holding soft drinks
soup spoon, soupspoon
a spoon with a rounded bowl for eating soup
cuspidor, spittoon
a receptacle for spit (usually in a public place)
a vessel (usually a pot or vat) used for steeping
deedbox, strongbox
a strongly made box for holding money or valuables; can be locked
sugar bowl
a dish in which sugar is served
sugar shell, sugar spoon
a spoon for serving sugar; often made in the shape of a seashell
sweat bag
a porous bag (usually of canvas) that holds water and cools it by evaporation
a spoon larger than a dessert spoon; used for serving
storage tank, tank
a large (usually metallic) vessel for holding gases or liquids
tea bag
small paper bag holding a measure of tea
a cup from which tea is drunk
tea maker
a covered spoon with perforations
a small spoon used for stirring tea or coffee; holds about one fluid dram
receptacle that holds odds and ends (as sewing materials)
a vessel (box, can, pan, etc.) made of tinplate and used mainly in baking
a box for holding tinder
sponge bag, toilet bag
a waterproof bag for holding bathrooms items (soap and toothpaste etc.) when you are travelling
tool bag
a bag in which tools are carried
house trailer, trailer
a wheeled vehicle that can be pulled by a car or truck and is equipped for occupancy
an open receptacle for holding or displaying or serving articles or food
tricycle, trike, velocipede
a vehicle with three wheels that is moved by foot pedals
trophy case
a case in which to display trophies
a long narrow shallow receptacle
tub, vat
a large open vessel for holding or storing liquids
tuck box
a box for storing eatables (especially at boarding school)
a bag used for carrying food
a glass with a flat bottom but no handle or stem; originally had a round bottom
monocycle, unicycle
a vehicle with a single wheel that is driven by pedals
a vessel that holds water for washing the hands
a cassette for videotape
waggon, wagon
any of various kinds of wheeled vehicles drawn by an animal or a tractor
coaster wagon, wagon
a child's four-wheeled toy cart sometimes used for coasting
billfold, notecase, pocketbook, wallet
a pocket-size case for holding papers and paper money
warming pan
a long-handled covered pan holding live coals to warm a bed
watch case
the metal case in which the works of a watch are housed
watch glass
laboratory glassware; a shallow glass dish used as an evaporating surface or to cover a beaker
water glass
a glass for drinking water
water jacket
a container filled with water that surrounds a machine to cool it; especially that surrounding the cylinder block of an engine
welcome wagon
a wheeled vehicle carrying information and gifts from local merchants for new residents in an area
a cavity or vessel used to contain liquid
wicker basket
a basket made of wickerwork
window box
a long narrow box for growing plants on a windowsill
window envelope
an envelope with a transparent panel that reveals the address on the enclosure
a glass that has a stem and in which wine is served
wooden spoon
a spoon made of wood
writing desk
a portable case containing writing materials and having a writing surface
Type of:
instrumentality, instrumentation
an artifact (or system of artifacts) that is instrumental in accomplishing some end

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