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

According to The Sun, the Red Devils are contemplating making a move for Shaqiri, all because of his performances for Switzerland this summer., "Man Utd Enter Race to Rival Liverpool Over the Transfer Of £12m Stoke Winger Xherdan Shaqiri," 5 July 2018 While trying to expand Neighborhood Health Plan’s footprint, Partners executives are also contemplating a takeover of a much larger insurer, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Priyanka Dayal Mccluskey,, "Partners HealthCare shifting 100,000 employees, families to company-owned insurer," 27 June 2018 With a possible victory in sight, the campaign was contemplating how to fill an administration with loyalists. Robert O'harrow Jr., Anchorage Daily News, "Promoted six times and then fired: A 24-year-old political appointee's wild ride in Trump's Washington," 15 June 2018 But authorities in several countries are contemplating the merits of digital currencies, which could allow the public to hold deposits with the central bank. The Economist, "A referendum on the way money is created," 7 June 2018 Still convinced City officials abused their powers, Mr. Haglund is contemplating next steps, which could include an appeal of the judge’s dismissal. Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times, "Landlord drops remaining defamation suit against Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant," 4 June 2018 In the pilot episode, directed by Adam McKay (The Big Short, Anchorman), Logan is contemplating passing the reins of his company to his son Kendall (Jeremy Strong), a recovering addict who’s itching to prove himself. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Filthy Rich: The Power Plays of Succession," 2 June 2018 Michael has fallen in with militant environmentalists, and is contemplating violent action, so Toller learns during a visit to Michael’s house. Gary Thompson,, "'First Reformed': Ethan Hawke's excellent turn as a conflicted reverend has a 'bonkers' ending," 31 May 2018 There are other signs the administration was at least contemplating larger scale evacuations on the Korean Peninsula in preparation for potential violence breaking out. Jeremy Diamond And Kevin Liptak, CNN, "Sources: Trump sought to evacuate military families from South Korea before Olympics," 15 May 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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Statistics for contemplate

Last Updated

21 Nov 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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