Contract a disease or contact a disease The phrases contract a disease and contact a disease are often confused, but only one of these terms is correct. We will examine the meaning and origin of the phrases contract a disease and contact a disease as well as some example of the correct use in sentences. To contract a disease means to catch or acquire an illness through the exposure to a contagious pathogen. However, one may also contract a disease that is non-communicable such as cancer. Contract a disease is a verb phrase, related terms are contracts a disease, contracted a disease and contracting a disease. The word contract is derived from the Latin word contractus which means to draw together. To contact a disease is an eggcorn, which is a misheard word or phrase that retains its original meaning. To contact a disease is not an accepted term. This eggcorn is probably a confabulation of the terms to come into contact with a disease and to contract a disease.