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

The city contemplated the development for nearly two years before voting it down. Kim Chatelain,, "Citizens seek to intervene in Port Marigny court battle," 30 May 2018 While recalling his first capoeira training session, Eric contemplates the divide between instinct and caution: Part of entering the world of capoeira angola is a constant training in vigilance, and not just during the actual playing of the game. Brittany Allen, Longreads, "Masters of Contradiction," 24 May 2018 While Cutler contemplates what is likely the end of his professional football career, he is also set to appear on Cavallari’s new reality series on E!, Very Cavallari — which focuses on her as an entrepreneur. Michelle R. Martinelli, For The Win, "Is Jay Cutler actually retired? 'I can't say 100 percent'," 3 July 2018 In other words, women became more, not less, polarized from each other when contemplating a policy aimed at women. Kevin Lewis,, "Examining liberal lattes," 22 June 2018 And today, on the movie musical's 40th anniversary, there's no better time to revisit Hollywood's most notorious on-screen makeovers - while perhaps contemplating your own. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "14 Iconic Movie Makeovers That Make the Case for a Bold New Look," 15 June 2018 Now, three years later, the tables are turned as a federal judge across the street is contemplating whether the San Diego police officers who arrested them should go before a jury to be held accountable for the case. Kristina Davis,, "Rapper 'Tiny Doo' and college student arrested under controversial gang law get day in court against police," 22 May 2018 It might be suggested that the same is true with the defense of impeachment proceedings; but this is a risk expressly contemplated by the Constitution, and is a necessary incident of the impeachment process. Salvador Rizzo, Washington Post, "Can the president be indicted or subpoenaed?," 22 May 2018 The new song is classic Bosstones: a rush of big-hearted brass and frantic guitars inviting you to dance your face off while contemplating larger issues. Kenneth Partridge, Billboard, "The Mighty Mighty Bosstones Preview New Album With 'Wonderful Day for the Race': Exclusive," 18 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

10 Oct 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).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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