Learn English – The opposite of “contains”


I was just wondering if anyone could think of a single word meaning the opposite of contains.


  • This bottle of beer contains alcohol whereas this one doesn't.

  • This bottle of beer doesn't contain alcohol whereas this one does.

Basically, I'm looking for a single word which means doesn't contain.

Best Answer

With regards to the programming context mentioned elsewhere, you can use terms such as "absent" or "missing" as in:

Assert.Absent( ... )

Assert.Missing( ... )

These seem highly likely to confuse whoever needs to read your code next, however, since no one will be searching for these terms. Contains is an extremely well adopted term for checking containers for objects. NotContains (from one of your comments) will at least match a query for "Contains".

In short: The terms exist but I wouldn't use them.