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

Meanwhile, 47% of newlyweds who went into wedding debt said that money caused them to contemplate divorce, compared to only 9% of couples who did not go into the red for their big day. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Survey Finds 45% of Newlyweds Went Into Debt for Their Wedding," 10 July 2019 Li said her initial intention was to prompt audience members from different parts of the world to contemplate their own roots and stories through 18 works about identity by eight Hong Kong artists. Vivienne Chow, Quartzy, "An art show in Switzerland became an accidental lens into Hong Kong’s protests," 4 July 2019 Most of her debut’s songs did something similar to this while also contemplating death and suffering as something glamorous. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Plot Against Persona," 15 Sep. 2019 The guilt did not keep me from contemplating suicide. Fiza Pirani, Teen Vogue, "How Telling My Immigrant Parents I Contemplated Suicide May Have Saved My Life," 13 Sep. 2019 Now, back to contemplating some important questions. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "This 2-in-1 Fire Pit and Coffee Table Is Perfect for Summer," 26 June 2019 People contemplating suicide may call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Jennifer Emily, Dallas News, "Family of Dallas courthouse shooter Brian Clyde believes he wanted to be killed," 19 June 2019 Katy ISD Police officials honored three of their officers who are credited with helping to save the lives of two students contemplating suicide. Mike Glenn, Houston Chronicle, "Katy ISD police officers honored," 1 June 2018 As the Red Sox contemplate their outfield in the years to come, Andrew Benintendi is turning more into Mike Greenwell than Fred Lynn. Peter Abraham,, "Twins expected more power this season — just not this much," 7 Sep. 2019

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

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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Statistics for contemplate

Last Updated

10 Oct 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).


involving a confidence or trust

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