2. [syn: catching, communicable, contagious, contractable, transmissible, transmittable]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Contagious \Con*ta"gious\, a. [L. contagiosus: cf. F.
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.
The spirit of imitation is contagious. --Ames.
Syn: Contagious, Infectious.
Usage: Although often used as synonyms, originally these
words were used in very diverse senses; but, in
general, a contagious disease has been considered as
one which is caught from another by some near contact,
by the breath, by bodily effluvia, etc.; while an
infectious disease supposed some entirely different
cause acting by a hidden influence, like the miasma of
prison ships, of marshes, etc., infecting the system
with disease. In either case, a pathogenic
microorganism is the direct cause of the 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.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
adj 1: easily diffused or spread as from one person to another;
"a contagious grin"
2: (of disease) capable of being transmitted by infection [syn:
catching, communicable, contagious, contractable,
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:
57 Moby Thesaurus words for "contagious":
assignable, catching, communicable, conductive, consignable,
conveyable, deadly, destructive, endemic, envenomed, epidemial,
epidemic, epiphytotic, epizootic, expressable, impartable,
infectious, infective, inoculable, interchangeable, mailable,
malign, malignant, mephitic, metathetic, miasmal, miasmatic,
miasmic, movable, noxious, pandemic, pestiferous, pestilential,
poisonous, portable, portative, removable, sporadic, spreading,
taking, toxic, toxicant, toxiferous, transferable, transfusable,
transmissible, transmissive, transmittable, transportable,
transportative, transposable, venenate, veneniferous, venenous,
venomous, virulent, zymotic