The Meaning of Contagion: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of contagion? This guide will provide you with all of the knowledge you need on the word contagion, including its definition, etymology, usage, synonyms, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word contagion mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the word contagion is a noun that refers to the spreading of a particular disease by a person who already has the disease. This transmission of infection or contagious disease or virus could come through indirect contact or direct contact with a diseased person or infected person or peer group, pathology, rubeola, grippe, exhalation, bacterium corynebacterium diphtheriae, or some other acute communicable disease, acute communicable infection of the respiratory tract, or contagious viral disease. This word can also be used figuratively to refer to a contagious emotion or emotional state, such as a contagion of fear, communication of an attitude, poetry, psychology, the tendency to have an infection of his enthusiasm, contagion of hysteria, or contagion of mirth. Contagion is three syllables – con-ta-gion, and the pronunciation of contagion is kənˈteɪdʒən. 

Many things can be a contagion or communicable disease that is passed through disease transmission. Contagion effects can be spread through bacterium, direct cause, flu, the transmission of an infectious disease, scarlet fever, AIDS patients, exposure to influenza, . Emotional contagion is the spread of a behavior pattern such as by imitation, harmful influence, doctrine, rumor or propaganda.  Infectious contact can be very dangerous in such manner. An acute contagious infection can spread easily and inflame the throat and air passages., or distinct red spots and purulent skin eruptions.  These can range from very dangerous to harmless,.

Words meaning contagion are also used in many other languages. You may notice that some of these words and phrases look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates which are often formed when two words in different languages have the same root or language of origin. This list of translations of contagion is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Belarusian: інфе́кцыя‎ (fem.)
  •  Latin: contagio‎
  •  Dutch: besmetting‎
  •  Korean: 감염‎ (gam-yeom) (感染‎)
  •  German: Ansteckung‎ (fem.)
  •  Greek: μεταδοτική ασθένεια‎
  •  Mandarin: 傳染‎, 传染‎ (chuánrǎn)
  •  Russian: инфе́кция‎ (fem.), зара́зная боле́знь‎ (fem.)
  •  Finnish: tartunta‎, tarttuminen‎
  •  French: contagion‎ (fem.)
  •  Japanese: 伝染‎
  •  Bulgarian: инфе́кция‎ (fem.), зара́зна бо́лест‎ (fem.)
  •  Czech: nákaza‎ (fem.)
  •  Ido: kontagio‎
  •  Portuguese: contágio‎ (masc.)
  •  Hungarian: ragály‎, fertőzés‎
  •  Italian: contagio‎ (masc.) (1,2,3)
  •  Turkish: salgın‎
  •  Romanian: contagiune‎ (fem.)
  •  Polish: zarażenie‎ (neut.)
  •  Tagalog: lalin‎
  •  Spanish: contagio‎ (masc.)
  •  Ukrainian: інфе́кція‎ (fem.)

What is the origin of the word contagion?

According to Etymonline, the word contagion has been used since the Middle English contagioun. It comes from Middle French and Old French, as well as the Latin contingere, a variant stem of tangere, the Latin contāgiōn, Latin contāgiō/Latin contagio and the stem of contāgiō.

How can the word contagion be used in a sentence?

The word contagion can be used in many different ways in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definitions and incorporate them into your vocabulary. You could also try making a quiz or flashcards to test your knowledge of different definitions. Try using this new word of the day in a sentence today! You never know, it might become a new favorite word. Below are several examples of contagion being used in English language sentences to help get you started.

There were unfounded fears of contagion at Princeton University. A number of people decided not to register because of the news affecting young viewers. They were worried about the transmission of disease.

The bad business practices were a contagion among financial institutions. The rest of financial sectors in the particular region of an economy were all affected. 

The hysterical contagion swept the sleepover when the power went out as they were using the Ouija board. These small shocks were mitigated when the power came back on and the scenario ended.

What are synonyms and antonyms of the word contagion?

There are many different equivalent words that a person can use in place of the word contagion (kən-tā jən). These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. One might choose to use a synonym because they want to avoid repeating themselves, or because they would like to work  on expanding their vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word contagion is provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  poisoning
  •  ache
  •  wog
  •  contagious disease
  •  germ
  •  attack
  •  canker
  •  illness
  •  black death
  •  radioactivation
  •  virus
  •  poor health
  •  bubonic plague
  •  flu
  •  bane
  •  contaminant
  •  zymosis
  •  decay
  •  transmission
  •  abnormality
  •  poisonous substance
  •  sickness
  •  deadliness
  •  bug
  •  toxic substance
  •  curse
  •  outbreak
  •  adulteration
  •  bacteria
  •  badgerer
  •  endemic
  •  venom
  •  toxin
  •  transmittal
  •  malady
  •  epidemic
  •  blight
  •  communicability
  •  extradition
  •  infirmity
  •  thorn in side
  •  pneumonic plague
  •  cancer
  •  transfer
  •  plagues
  •  pestilence
  •  infectious disease
  •  contagiousness
  •  lurgy
  •  contamination
  •  upset
  •  respiratory tract infection
  •  tormentor
  •  carrier
  •  disorder
  •  infection
  •  pesterer
  •  infections
  •  complaint
  •  disease
  •  taint
  •  venin
  •  visitation
  •  toxicity
  •  corruption
  •  pests
  •  sepsis
  •  condition
  •  disability
  •  problem
  •  ailment
  •  trouble
  •  spread
  •  impurity
  •  insanitation
  •  pox
  •  spoliations
  •  convection
  •  annoyance
  •  pest
  •  plague
  •  pandemic
  •  septicity
  •  infestation
  •  scourge
  •  toxicant
  •  influenza
  •  poison
  •  ausralian
  •  affection
  •  pollution
  •  viruses
  •  communication
  •  indisposition
  •  transmissions
  •  toxoid
  •  metastasis
  •  communicable disease
  •  defect
  •  affliction

There are also a great many words that mean the opposite of the word contagion. These are called antonyms. English language antonyms are also very useful grammatical devices to know. This list of antonyms for the word contagion is also provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  medicaments
  •  antidotes
  •  medicinal products
  •  antibiotic
  •  catharsis
  •  medicine
  •  endemic
  •  healer
  •  physical health
  •  medication
  •  cold medicine
  •  treatment
  •  water reclamation
  •  healing
  •  antitoxin
  •  elixir
  •  pretendonitis
  •  antiserum
  •  cure
  •  counterirritant
  •  advantage
  •  acyclovir
  •  inoculant
  •  counteracting agent
  •  his pill
  •  therapy
  •  purity
  •  antidote
  •  medicinal product
  •  disinfection
  •  germicide
  •  disinfecting
  •  curative treatment
  •  counter-agent
  •  drugs
  •  counteractant
  •  medical field
  •  drug-containing
  •  medicines
  •  remedy
  •  antihistamine
  •  pharmaceutical
  •  vaccine
  •  medicine man
  •  medicinal drug
  •  lustration
  •  decontamination
  •  medicinal agent
  •  fitness
  •  cleanliness

Overall, the word contagion means something infectious or contagious. This can refer to a mental state, phenomenon, or other ready transmission. This is spread through undesirable contact


  1. contagion: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. Contagion synonyms – 355 Words and Phrases for Contagion | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Contagion antonyms – 66 Opposites of Contagion | Power Thesaurus 
  4. Contagion definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  5. contagion | Origin and meaning of contagion | Online Etymology Dictionary