co·​e·​val kō-ˈē-vəl How to pronounce coeval (audio)
: of the same or equal age, antiquity, or duration
coeval noun

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Coeval comes to English from the Latin word coaevus, meaning "of the same age." Coaevus was formed by combining the co- prefix ("in or to the same degree") with Latin aevum ("age" or "lifetime"). The root aevum is also a base in such temporal words as longevity, medieval, and primeval. Although coeval can technically describe any two or more entities that coexist, it is most typically used to refer to things that have existed together for a very long time (such as galaxies) or that were concurrent with each other in the distant past (parallel historical periods of ancient civilizations, for example).

Choose the Right Synonym for coeval

contemporary, contemporaneous, coeval, synchronous, simultaneous, coincident mean existing or occurring at the same time.

contemporary is likely to apply to people and what relates to them.

Abraham Lincoln was contemporary with Charles Darwin

contemporaneous is more often applied to events than to people.

contemporaneous accounts of the kidnapping

coeval refers usually to periods, ages, eras, eons.

two stars thought to be coeval

synchronous implies exact correspondence in time and especially in periodic intervals.

synchronous timepieces

simultaneous implies correspondence in a moment of time.

the two shots were simultaneous

coincident is applied to events and may be used in order to avoid implication of causal relationship.

the end of World War II was coincident with a great vintage year

Examples of coeval in a Sentence

two stars thought to be coeval because they have nearly the same mass and brightness
Recent Examples on the Web Her letters to Bradley demonstrate that the idea was coeval with her wish to be a poet and her discovery of romantic feeling for girls, and that it was fully formed as early as her adolescence. Langdon Hammer, The New York Review of Books, 25 Feb. 2020 Tribalism and clannishness are coeval with human social life. Stephen Holmes, The New York Review of Books, 17 Jan. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'coeval.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Late Latin coaevus "of the same age" (from Latin co- co- + -aevus, adjective derivative of aevus, aevum "time as the medium in which events occur, age, lifetime") + -al entry 1 — more at aye entry 3

First Known Use

1645, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of coeval was in 1645


Dictionary Entries Near coeval

Cite this Entry

“Coeval.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: of the same age or duration
coeval noun
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