con·​tem·​plate | \ ˈkän-təm-ˌplāt How to pronounce contemplate (audio) , -ˌtem- \
contemplated; contemplating

Definition of contemplate

transitive verb

1 : to view or consider with continued attention : meditate on contemplate the vastness of the universe contemplated the meaning of the poem
2 : to view as likely or probable or as an end or intention contemplate marriage contemplated a move to Alaska

intransitive verb

: ponder, meditate wanted time to just sit and contemplate

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Other Words from contemplate

contemplator \ ˈkän-​təm-​ˌplā-​tər How to pronounce contemplator (audio) , -​ˌtem \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for contemplate

consider, study, contemplate, weigh mean to think about in order to arrive at a judgment or decision. consider may suggest giving thought to in order to reach a suitable conclusion, opinion, or decision. refused even to consider my proposal study implies sustained purposeful concentration and attention to details and minutiae. study the plan closely contemplate stresses focusing one's thoughts on something but does not imply coming to a conclusion or decision. contemplate the consequences of refusing weigh implies attempting to reach the truth or arrive at a decision by balancing conflicting claims or evidence. weigh the pros and cons of the case

Examples of contemplate in a Sentence

He contemplated the meaning of the poem for a long time. I'd like some time to just sit and contemplate. She stood and quietly contemplated the scene that lay before her.
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Recent Examples on the Web The idea has apparently contemplated by the White House in other trade fights too. Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner, "White House mulls new trade weapon for EU talks: 'Carousel' tariffs," 9 Feb. 2020 Liza Featherstone contemplates the politicization of children. The New Republic, "Are Kids Bad for the Planet?," 27 Jan. 2020 Already, transit activists and city officials are contemplating what comes next. Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, "Car-free Market Street," 24 Jan. 2020 By late 2010, the lab contemplated halting work on the vaccine. Matthew Herder, STAT, "The public science behind the ‘Merck’ Ebola vaccine," 16 Jan. 2020 Blake Griffin hasn’t played in four straight and is contemplating season-ending knee surgery. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Detroit Pistons, Game 37 preview and listings," 7 Jan. 2020 In this space, the country’s fourth president contemplated democracy and shaped the ideas that would become the U.S. Constitution. Susan O'keefe, National Geographic, "How to see the Virginia Piedmont? Just follow Thomas Jefferson," 29 Nov. 2019 At no point was a full bailout of the company seriously contemplated, with the government instead viewing Thomas Cook’s business model as outdated. Richard Weiss,, "Thomas Cook’s Final Adventure Ends in Early-Morning Liquidation," 23 Sep. 2019 The Warriors are two weeks away from the trade deadline, which has prompted many Golden State fans trying to forget about their favorite team’s mounting losses to contemplate possible trade scenarios. Connor Letourneau,, "Warriors mailbag: D’Angelo Russell for Ben Simmons? Why play Stephen Curry?," 22 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contemplate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of contemplate

circa 1533, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for contemplate

borrowed from Latin contemplātus, past participle of contemplāre, contemplārī "to look at fixedly, observe, notice, ponder," from con- con- + -templāre, -templārī, verbal derivative of templum "space of sky or land delimited orally by an augur, sacred precinct, building consecrated to a deity" — more at temple entry 1

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Time Traveler for contemplate

Time Traveler

The first known use of contemplate was circa 1533

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Statistics for contemplate

Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Contemplate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for contemplate


How to pronounce contemplate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of contemplate

: to think deeply or carefully about (something)
: to think deeply
: to think about doing (something)


con·​tem·​plate | \ ˈkän-təm-ˌplāt How to pronounce contemplate (audio) \
contemplated; contemplating

Kids Definition of contemplate

1 : to look at with careful and thoughtful attention
2 : to think about deeply and carefully
3 : to have in mind : plan on Maybe we should contemplate a trip to Europe.

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