[[t]kənˈteɪ dʒəs[/t]] adj.
1) pat capable of being transmitted by bodily contact with an infected person or object:
contagious diseases[/ex]
2) pat carrying or spreading a contagious disease
3) tending to spread from person to person:
contagious fear[/ex]
Etymology: 1350–1400; ME < LL con•ta′gious•ly, adv. con•ta′gious•ness, con•ta`gi•os′i•ty -dʒiˈɒs ɪ ti n. syn: contagious, infectious are usu. distinguished in technical medical use. contagious, literally “communicable by contact,” describes a very easily transmitted disease, as influenza or the common cold. infectious refers to a disease involving a microorganism that can be transmitted from one person to another only by a specific kind of contact; venereal diseases are usu. infectious. In nontechnical senses, contagious emphasizes the rapidity with which something spreads: Contagious laughter ran through the hall. infectious suggests the pleasantly irresistible quality of something: Her infectious good humor made her a popular guest.

From formal English to slang. 2014.


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Contagious — Con*ta gious, a. [L. contagiosus: cf. F. contagieux.] 1. (Med.) Communicable by contact, by a virus, or by a bodily exhalation; catching; as, a contagious disease. [1913 Webster] 2. Conveying or generating disease; pestilential; poisonous; as,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • contagious — A contagious disease is one transmitted by physical contact, as distinct from an infectious disease, which is transmitted by micro organisms in the air or in water. In figurative use, contagious and infectious overlap in modifying positive or… …   Modern English usage

  • contagious — [kən tā′jəs] adj. [OFr contagieus < LL contagiosus] 1. spread by direct or indirect contact; communicable: said of diseases 2. carrying, or liable to transmit, the causative agent of a contagious disease 3. for the care of contagious patients… …   English World dictionary

  • contagious — ► ADJECTIVE 1) (of a disease) spread by direct or indirect contact between people or organisms. 2) having a contagious disease. 3) (of an emotion, attitude, etc.) likely to spread to and affect others. DERIVATIVES contagiously adverb… …   English terms dictionary

  • contagious — I adjective catching, communicable, contaminating, conveyable, epidemic, impartible, infectious, infective, pathogenic, pestiferous, spreading, transferable, transmissible, transmissive II index pestilent Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C.… …   Law dictionary

  • contagious — late 14c., from O.Fr. contagieus (Mod.Fr. contagieux), from L.L. contagiosus, from L. contagio (see CONTACT (Cf. contact)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • contagious — *infectious, communicable, catching Analogous words: toxic, pestilential, pestilent, virulent, mephitic, mias mic (see POISONOUS) …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • contagious — [adj] communicable catching, deadly, endemic, epidemic, epizootic, impartible, infectious, inoculable, pestiferous, pestilential, poisonous, spreading, taking, transmissible, transmittable; concept 314 Ant. noncommunicable …   New thesaurus

  • contagious — contagiously, adv. contagiousness, contagiosity /keuhn tay jee os i tee/, n. /keuhn tay jeuhs/, adj. 1. capable of being transmitted by bodily contact with an infected person or object: contagious diseases. 2. carrying or spreading a contagious… …   Universalium