con·​tem·​pla·​tion ˌkän-təm-ˈplā-shən How to pronounce contemplation (audio)
: concentration on spiritual things as a form of private devotion
: a state of mystical awareness of God's being
: an act of considering with attention : study
made the decision after much contemplation
: the act of regarding steadily
was lost in quiet contemplation of the scene
: intention, expectation
"A considerable crime is in contemplation."Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Examples of contemplation in a Sentence

contemplation of the meaning of life He goes to the forest to spend time in contemplation of nature. She was lost in quiet contemplation of the scene.
Recent Examples on the Web In those days Catholics were expected to fast three times per week from November 11 until Christmas, which sounds like the exact opposite of pleasurable contemplation. Mike Desimone and Jeff Jenssen, Robb Report, 1 Nov. 2023 But despite millennia of contemplation and study — and a fairly solid theory of the case — scientists have continued to find inconsistencies, posit alternate possibilities and tweak theories. Carolyn Y. Johnson, Washington Post, 23 Oct. 2023 The script incorporates elements of humor, sarcasm and Ho’s contemplation on the impact of COVID-19. Sophia Sun, Variety, 6 Nov. 2023 Those get moved to the back room for future contemplation. Alix Strauss, New York Times, 21 Oct. 2023 Khosla’s design inserts within that landscape a pit of contemplation, which is modeled on the Hand of Justice pit designed by Le Corbusier in Chandigarh, in north India. Curbed, 20 Oct. 2023 Suicidal ideation, often called suicidal thoughts or ideas, is a broad term that describes a range of contemplations, wishes, and preoccupations with death and suicide. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 22 Sep. 2023 Among the exuberant emoting of British teens Charlie (Joe Locke) and Nick (Kit Connor) and their friends, there are quieter moments of contemplation, a contrast to Season 1, as the kids work through challenges in their personal lives and the greater world. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, 2 Aug. 2023 On Thursday, Butler announced her decision after more than two weeks of careful contemplation. Benjamin Oreskes, Los Angeles Times, 19 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'contemplation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English contemplacioun "religious meditation, reflection, consideration," borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French contemplaciun, borrowed from Latin contemplātiōn-, contemplātiō "act of looking at something, consideration" (Late Latin, "religious meditation"), from contemplāre, contemplārī "to look at fixedly, observe, notice, ponder" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at contemplate

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of contemplation was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near contemplation

Cite this Entry

“Contemplation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


con·​tem·​pla·​tion ˌkänt-əm-ˈplā-shən How to pronounce contemplation (audio)
: the act of thinking about spiritual things : meditation
: the act of looking at or thinking about something steadily
: a looking ahead to some future event : anticipation
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