adjective con·tin·gent \kən-ˈtin-jənt\

: depending on something else that might or might not happen

Full Definition of CONTINGENT

:  likely but not certain to happen :  possible
:  not logically necessary; especially :  empirical
a :  happening by chance or unforeseen causes
b :  subject to chance or unseen effects :  unpredictable
c :  intended for use in circumstances not completely foreseen
:  dependent on or conditioned by something else <payment is contingent on fulfillment of certain conditions>
:  not necessitated :  determined by free choice
con·tin·gent·ly adverb

Examples of CONTINGENT

  1. The isolation and co-optation of the capitalist classes in Germany meant that liberty as an ideal had no contingent link with capitalism, as had happened in Western Europe. —Orlando Patterson, New Republic, 8 Nov. 1999


Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin contingent-, contingens, present participle of contingere to have contact with, befall, from com- + tangere to touch — more at tangent
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of CONTINGENT

accidental, fortuitous, casual, contingent mean not amenable to planning or prediction. accidental stresses chance <any resemblance to actual persons is entirely accidental>. fortuitous so strongly suggests chance that it often connotes entire absence of cause <a series of fortuitous events>. casual stresses lack of real or apparent premeditation or intent <a casual encounter with a stranger>. contingent suggests possibility of happening but stresses uncertainty and dependence on other future events for existence or occurrence <the contingent effects of the proposed law>.

Rhymes with CONTINGENT


noun con·tin·gent \kən-ˈtin-jənt\

: a group of people who go to a place together, do something together, or share some quality, interest, etc.

: a group of soldiers who come from a particular army and are working together with soldiers from other armies

Full Definition of CONTINGENT

:  something contingent (see 1contingent):  contingency
:  a representative group :  delegation, detachment <a diplomatic contingent>

Examples of CONTINGENT

  1. The group that makes up the largest contingent of voters in this area is the elderly.
  2. A contingent of reporters waited in front of the court for the defendant to appear.
  3. A British contingent was sent to assist the security forces.
  4. Hollywood, Madison Avenue, the FCC, and a growing contingent in corporate America: It's hard to imagine a more formidable alliance pushing segregated television. —Tamar Jacoby, New Republic, 24 Jan. 2000


(see 1contingent)
First Known Use: 1548
CONTINGENTLY Defined for Kids


adjective con·tin·gent \kən-ˈtin-jənt\

Definition of CONTINGENT for Kids

:  depending on something else that may or may not exist or occur <Our trip is contingent on whether we can get tickets.>


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