Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Disease transmission by direct or indirect contact.
  • n. A disease that is or may be transmitted by direct or indirect contact; a contagious disease.
  • n. The direct cause, such as a bacterium or virus, of a communicable disease.
  • n. Psychology The spread of a behavior pattern, attitude, or emotion from person to person or group to group through suggestion, propaganda, rumor, or imitation.
  • n. A harmful, corrupting influence: feared that violence on television was a contagion affecting young viewers.
  • n. The tendency to spread, as of a doctrine, influence, or emotional state.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A disease spread by contact
  • n. The spread or transmission of such a disease
  • n. The spread of anything harmful, as if it were such a disease
  • n. A situation in which small shocks, which initially affect only a few financial institutions or a particular region of an economy, spread to the rest of financial sectors and other countries whose economies were previously healthy.
  • n. A resulting recession or crisis developed in such manner.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The transmission of a disease from one person to another, by direct or indirect contact.
  • n. That which serves as a medium or agency to transmit disease; a virus produced by, or exhalation proceeding from, a diseased person, and capable of reproducing the disease.
  • n. The act or means of communicating any influence to the mind or heart.
  • n. Venom; poison.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Infectious contact or communication; specifically and commonly, the communication of a disease from one person or brute to another.
  • n. Hence The communication of a state of feeling, particularly of moral feeling, or of ideas, from one person to another; especially, the communication of moral evil; propagation of mischief; infection: as, the contagion of enthusiasm; the contagion of vice or of evil example.
  • n. Contagium.
  • n. Pestilential influence; malarial or poisonous exhalations.
  • n. A contagious disease.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the communication of an attitude or emotional state among a number of people
  • n. an incident in which an infectious disease is transmitted
  • n. any disease easily transmitted by contact

Etymologies

Middle English contagioun, from Latin contāgiō, contāgiōn-, from contingere, contāct-, to touch; see contact.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English (late 14th century), from Old French, from Latin contagio ("a touching, contact, contagion") related to contingo ("touch closely") (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • "The preoccupation with local color encouraged love of surfaces, if not a satisfaction with surfaces alone; so that, though the local color novel was likely to be a more serious performance than the short story of the type, it nevertheless suffered from the contagion of triviality."
    - Carl Van Doren, 'The American Novel'.

    September 20, 2009