- content1. Content is pronounced with stress on the second syllable as a verb (see 2), adjective, and noun (meaning ‘a contented state’: see 3), and on the first syllable as a noun (meaning ‘what is contained’: see 4).2. Content oneself with (not by) is the right form of the phrase that means ‘not go beyond (some course of action)’, when followed by a verbal noun:
• Fans of classic Japanese cinema have had to content themselves with reading about, rather than seeing, films like Drunken Angel —film website, 2000 [OEC].3. Content and contentment both mean ‘a contented state’, but contentment is the more usual word, with content found chiefly as a poetical variant in the expression to one's heart's content.4. Content and contents both mean ‘what is contained’ in physical and abstract senses. There is little difference in meaning; content is the more usual choice when the thing in question is a mass noun (and obligatory when preceded by a defining word, e.g. protein content), and contents is the more usual choice when a number of countable items is involved, but exceptions are not hard to find:
• Questions like the protein content of bacon butties…and the vitamin rating of corned beef sarnies —Times, 1980
• The whisky bottle was still in play, though its contents…had not shrunk catastrophically —M. Hatfield, 1981
• In a sideline to the main argument for God's existence, Descartes considers the content of a number of different ideas he has —T Sorell, 2000.
Modern English usage. 2014.