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 museum closed in 2012 and put its collection in storage in Jackson, Mississippi, as leadership contemplated a move. Josefin Dolsten,, "A museum on Southern Jews moves its eclectic 4,000-item collection across state lines," 9 July 2019 Others are contemplating whether to sell rather than risk property devaluation or loss of lakefront access. Josh Baugh,, "Residents of Guadalupe River lakes brace for worst," 22 June 2019 In the latest move in an escalating trade war with China, President Donald Trump is contemplating another tariff on a new list of Chinese goods, including most toys. London Gibson, Indianapolis Star, "Trump tariff concerns are the fright before Christmas for Carmel toy store owner," 21 June 2019 His day-to-day responsibilities also include contemplating a solution to the mouse occupancy of the house. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "'Huge security issue': Larry the Cat causes stir outside 10 Downing Street during Trump visit," 4 June 2019 His day-to-day responsibilities also include contemplating a solution to the mouse occupancy of the house. Jasmine Aguilera, Time, "10 Downing Street's Larry the Cat Disrupts President Trump's U.K. Visit by Sitting Under His Limo," 4 June 2019 There are already signs that Saudi Arabia has begun contemplating a world without the cartel. Summer Said, WSJ, "Qatar to Leave OPEC as Cartel Pressured to Cut Production," 3 Dec. 2018 While fans across the globe have spent the past week contemplating whether to ditch their Boy Brow and start plucking, makeup artists got down to business. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Makeup Artist Alissa Ashley Recreated Rihanna's Vogue Cover and the Resemblance Is Uncanny," 8 Aug. 2018 But last year, when news broke that the inmate census had fallen enough to close one facility, panic struck politicians and county officials, who began contemplating what the rural prison economy might look like in an era of decarceration. Samantha Melamed,, "Can the rural prison economy survive the era of decarceration?," 7 June 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

18 Jul 2019

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 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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Comments on contemplate

What made you want to look up contemplate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to form ideas or theories about something

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