Definitions for: Contagious


[adj] (of disease) capable of being transmitted by infection
[adj] easily diffused or spread as from one person to another; "a contagious grin"



Webster (1913) Definition: 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.

2. Conveying or generating disease; pestilential; poisonous;
as, contagious air.

3. Spreading or communicable from one to another; exciting
similar emotions or conduct in others.

His genius rendered his courage more contagious.
--Wirt.

The spirit of imitation is contagious. --Ames.

Syn: Contagious, Infectious.

Usage: These words have been used in very diverse senses;
but, in general, a contagious disease has been
considered as one which is caught from another by
contact, by the breath, by bodily effluvia, etc.;
while an infectious disease supposes some entirely
different cause acting by a hidden influence, like the
miasma of prison ships, of marshes, etc., infecting
the system with disease. ``This distinction, though
not universally admitted by medical men, as to the
literal meaning of the words, certainly applies to
them in their figurative use. Thus we speak of the
contagious influence of evil associates; their
contagion of bad example, the contagion of fear, etc.,
when we refer to transmission by proximity or contact.
On the other hand, we speak of infection by bad
principles, etc., when we consider anything as
diffused by some hidden influence.

Synonyms: catching, communicable, contractable, infectious, transmissible, transmittable

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