con-ta-gion / kən-tā-jən
1. the transmission of disease through direct or indirect contact
Poverty can fuel contagion, but contagion can also create or deepen impoverishment.
Vidya Diwakar, “From pandemics to poverty: the implications of coronavirus for the furthest behind”, www.odi.org/blogs/16754-pandemics-poverty-implications-coronavirus-furthest-behind, March 10, 2020
2. a disease that is contagious
Doctor Boyleston, likewise, inoculated many persons; and while hundreds died who had caught the contagion from the garments of the sick, almost all were preserved who followed the wise physician’s advice.
From “Grandfather’s Chair” by Nathanial Hawthorne, 1804 – 1864
3. the specific cause of a contagious disease, such as a virus or bacterium
To demonstrate experimentally that a microscopic organism actually is the cause of a disease and the agent of contagion, I know no other way, in the present state of Science, than to subject the microbe (the new and happy term introduced by M. Sédillot) to the method of cultivation out of the body.
Louis Pasteur, 1822 – 1895
4. a corrupting or harmful power or influence that spreads and causes others to follow
A well-informed mind is the best security against the contagion of folly and vice.
Ann Radcliffe, 1764 – 1823
5. the spreading or transmission of a particular emotion, attitude or idea among many people
Tenderness once excited will be hourly increased by the natural contagion of felicity, by the repercussion of communicated pleasure, by the consciousness of dignity of benefaction.
Samuel Johnson, 1709 – 1784