Meaning of CONTACT in English

I. con ‧ tact 1 S2 W2 AC /ˈkɒntækt $ ˈkɑːn-/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: adjective : ↑ contact , ↑ contactable ; verb : ↑ contact ; noun : ↑ contact ]

[ Date: 1600-1700 ; Language: French ; Origin: Latin contactus , from the past participle of contigere ; ⇨ ↑ contingent 1 ]

1 . COMMUNICATION [uncountable] communication with a person, organization, country etc

contact with/between

There is very little contact between the two tribes.

Many of us have no direct contact with elderly people.

in contact

We stay in contact by email.

The town is cut off from contact with the outside world.

2 . TOUCH [uncountable] when two people or things touch each other

contact with/between

Children need physical contact with a caring adult.

The disease spreads by sexual contact between infected animals.

in contact with something

For a second, his hand was in contact with mine.

When water comes into contact with air, carbon dioxide is released.

on contact (with something)

The bomb exploded on contact (=at the moment it touched something) .

3 . EXPERIENCE [uncountable] when you meet someone or experience a particular kind of thing:

Everyone who came into contact with Di felt better for knowing her.

Pat’s job brings her into contact with the problems people face when they retire.

4 . PERSON [countable usually plural] a person you know who may be able to help or advise you:

He has a lot of contacts in the media.

a worldwide network of contacts

business/personal contacts

5 . contacts [plural] a situation in which you can communicate easily with a group, country etc

contacts with/between

We have good contacts with the local community.

He goes to great lengths to maintain these contacts.

the establishment of diplomatic contacts

6 . point of contact

a) a place you go to or a person you meet when you ask an organization for help

first/initial point of contact

Primary health care teams are the first point of contact for users of the service.

b) a way in which two different things are related:

finding a point of contact between theory and practice

c) the part of something where another thing touches it:

The sting causes swelling at the point of contact.

7 . ELECTRICAL [countable] an electrical part that completes a ↑ circuit when it touches another part

8 . EYES [countable] informal a contact lens

⇨ eye contact at ↑ eye 1 (5)

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■ verbs

▪ have contact with somebody

I haven’t had any contact with her for at least two years.

▪ be in contact (=have regular communication)

He’s been in contact with his lawyer about the situation.

▪ get in contact (=manage to communicate)

Where can I get in contact with you while you are away?

▪ stay/keep in contact ( also maintain contact formal )

We’ve stayed in contact since we met on holiday.

▪ lose contact (=no longer see someone or hear from them)

She went to live in Australia and I lost contact with her.

▪ make contact

We’d like to make contact with other schools in the area.

▪ put somebody in contact with somebody (=give someone the name, telephone number etc of another person)

I can put you in contact with a friend of mine in Paris.

▪ come into contact with somebody (=meet or spend time with somebody)

It’s good to come into contact with people from different cultures.

▪ bring somebody into contact with somebody

The job brought me into contact with a lot of interesting people.

▪ establish contact

The police are trying to establish contact with the kidnappers.

▪ avoid contact

She doesn’t give interviews and avoids contact with the media.

▪ sever contact with somebody (=refuse to have any contact with someone)

After the divorce, she severed all contact with her husband.


▪ direct contact (=spending time with somebody)

Our volunteers work in direct contact with people who need help.

▪ close contact (=communicating with somebody often)

I like to stay in close contact with my parents.

▪ personal contact (=seeing and speaking to somebody personally)

She never comes into personal contact with senior managers.

▪ social/human contact (=spending time with other people)

He lived alone and had little human contact.

▪ regular contact

All students have regular contact with their tutor.

▪ day-to-day/daily contact

I like my job because it involves day-to-day contact with clients.

▪ face-to-face contact (=talking to someone who is with you)

Certain types of jobs do not need face-to-face contact.

▪ one-to-one contact (=being with only one other person)

Children with learning difficulties may need one-to-one contact.

▪ radio contact (=communication by radio)

Air traffic control had lost radio contact with the pilot.

II. contact 2 S2 W2 AC BrE AmE verb [transitive]

[ Word Family: adjective : ↑ contact , ↑ contactable ; verb : ↑ contact ; noun : ↑ contact ]

to write to or telephone someone:

Give the names of two people who can be contacted in an emergency.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any queries.

—contactable adjective [not before noun] :

A mobile phone makes you contactable wherever you are.

• • •


In everyday English, people often say get in touch with someone rather than contact someone:

Is there a number where I can get in touch with you?

• • •


▪ communicate verb [intransitive and transitive] to exchange information or have a conversation with someone, by telephone, letter etc, or by seeing them:

Now that we live in different cities, we communicate by e-mail.


He is able to communicate using a special keyboard, which is connected to a computer.


This message is not being communicated to staff.

▪ contact verb [transitive] to write to, phone, or email someone especially for the first time, in order to give or ask for information:

Neighbours contacted police after seeing a man with a gun.


She refused to comment when contacted by reporters from the local newspaper.

▪ get in touch (with somebody) to write to, telephone, or email someone, especially someone who you do not see very often:

I really ought to get in touch with Paula. It's been months since we last spoke.


You've got my phone number if you need to get in touch.

▪ get hold of somebody to succeed in contacting someone by telephone after trying several times:

Where have you been? I've been trying to get hold of you all week.


It's no use trying to phone Linda at work – she's impossible to get hold of.

▪ approach verb [transitive] to contact someone that you do not know or have not contacted before, in order to offer them something or ask them for something:

He has already been approached by several professional football teams.


The company confirmed that it had been approached about a merger.

III. contact 3 AC BrE AmE adjective [only before noun]

[ Word Family: adjective : ↑ contact , ↑ contactable ; verb : ↑ contact ; noun : ↑ contact ]

1 . contact number/address/details a telephone number or address where someone can be found if necessary:

If you are babysitting, make sure you have a contact number for the parents.

2 . contact explosives or chemicals become active when they touch something:

contact poisons

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.