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

Photo: Getty Plans for a tough approach to China were contemplated by the Trump administration shortly after the inauguration. Jeremy Page, WSJ, "U.S. Edges Toward New Cold-War Era With China," 13 Oct. 2018 Under the chain of succession that’s been contemplated by the administration, Sessions chief of staff Matthew Whitaker would be in line to take over as deputy attorney general if Rosenstein departs. Zeke Miller, The Seattle Times, "Rosenstein’s job to be topic of Thursday meeting with Trump," 25 Sep. 2018 According to Dulberg, the TSA contemplates only one Fare: the Fare determined by the Fare Calculation. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Thousands of Uber drivers set to get $75, before lawyers’ fees, in settlement," 26 Aug. 2018 Even more aggressive is the move contemplated by former Trump adviser Anton — simply having the president sign an executive order declaring that the children of unauthorized immigrants are not citizens. Dara Lind, Vox, "Birthright citizenship, explained: why some on the right want to end it, and what they get wrong," 23 July 2018 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

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

5 Dec 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

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


to enclose within walls

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