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

Other Words from contemplate

contemplator \ ˈkän-​təm-​ˌplā-​tər How to pronounce contemplate (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.
Recent Examples on the Web Such periods create much fear among investors, and some seriously contemplate selling out of everything to avoid further losses. Raul Elizalde, Forbes, 6 May 2022 Radin said the pandemic had forced him to slow down and look around — to contemplate, for example, its vegetation. Jireh Deng, Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2022 Children contemplate suicide far more often than parents may realize. Andrew Solomon, The New Yorker, 4 Apr. 2022 Will’s birthday, but his mother visits, which causes tension; the adults contemplate telling Will about his father. Washington Post, 17 Mar. 2022 Others reflect on the current tragedy and contemplate their next steps. Steven Jiang, CNN, 19 Apr. 2022 Both shows are often grouped together in conversations online as they were created by rappers, have storylines that center on an aspiring rapper and contemplate the nature of fame and success. Zack Sharf, Variety, 7 Apr. 2022 Each session of the Anti-Diet Course focuses on one or two of the 10 principles of intuitive eating, pairing a brief educational conversation with a short meditation (led by Harrison) to help listeners contemplate and embody that principle. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, 8 Feb. 2022 The impact of losing these fashion forces made Siriano and his fellow Project Runway judge Brandon Maxwell contemplate their own careers as well as the up-and-coming designers on their show. Stephanie Wenger,, 4 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of contemplate was circa 1533

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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Contemplate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for contemplate


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on contemplate

Nglish: Translation of contemplate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of contemplate for Arabic Speakers


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