con·tem·plate | \ ˈkän-təm-ˌplāt , -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, -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

Spingarn sees Embraer's engineering force helping design the midrange jet family contemplated by Boeing, with a possible entry into commercial service by middecade. Julie Johnsson And Fabiola Moura,, "Boeing's $4.75 billion Embraer deal leaves long to-do list," 6 July 2018 Most would have been barred under restrictions now being contemplated by the Army. New York Times, "Arlington Cemetery, Nearly Full, May Become More Exclusive," 28 May 2018 But the fact that the community is grappling with questions surrounding a use not previously contemplated by Town Meeting is precisely why this moratorium is needed., "Should Canton place a moratorium on new hospitals and convalescent or nursing homes?," 11 May 2018 Physics is a topic best not contemplated under the influence of alcohol. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "Why Do Some Beer Bubbles Appear to Defy Physics? Science Finally Has an Answer," 16 Apr. 2018 At the beginning of the meeting, Escondido City Attorney Michael McGuinness explained what was, and what was not, being contemplated by the council. J. Harry Jones,, "Escondido votes to support Trump's suit against state's sanctuary laws," 4 Apr. 2018 For months, Edwin Antonio Gonzalez contemplated heading to the United States illegally. Pamela Ren Larson, azcentral, "Trump administration issues new asylum rules aimed at families arriving at border," 13 July 2018 Both, however, contemplate the same kind of underlying conduct. Michael Mccann,, "Should the NCAA Be Worried About the Lawsuit It's Facing From Former Louisville Players?," 12 July 2018 Proposition 11 never contemplated decisions over reproductive rights and responsibilities. John Myers,, "Abortion may soon return to the national political debate, but it's largely settled in California," 8 July 2018

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

Latin contemplatus, past participle of contemplari, from com- + templum space marked out for observation of auguries — more at temple

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Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for contemplate

The first known use of contemplate was circa 1533

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More Definitions for contemplate



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 \
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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Comments on contemplate

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