con·​tem·​pla·​tion | \ˌkän-təm-ˈplā-shən, -ˌtem-\

Definition of contemplation 

1a : concentration on spiritual things as a form of private devotion

b : a state of mystical awareness of God's being

2 : an act of considering with attention : study made the decision after much contemplation

3 : the act of regarding steadily was lost in quiet contemplation of the scene

4 : intention, expectation "A considerable crime is in contemplation."— Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Synonyms for contemplation



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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The setting, framed by sky and sea and perfectly suited to silent contemplation, connects Japan’s ancient past with a radically modern artistic sensibility. Kristina O’neill, WSJ, "WSJ. Magazine Editor’s Letter: Best Bids," 3 May 2018 Cemeteries are a great place for reflection, contemplation, prayer, and quiet. Paul Daugherty,, "Morning Line: Cincinnati Reds' CF Billy Hamilton is underrated as an offensive contributor," 5 July 2018 Then, after a few moments of contemplation, the pug attacks the bottles like a lion does its prey. Alexis Hobbs, Woman's Day, "WATCH: This Feisty Pug CANNOT STAND Shampoo Bottles," 7 Aug. 2015 Bernstein’s music balances wistful contemplation with skilled handling of voice leading and harmony. New York Times, "Is ‘Mass’ Leonard Bernstein’s Best Work, or His Worst?," 13 July 2018 No time for quiet philosophical contemplation when there's a war on. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "'Westworld' recap: A trip to Ghost Nation," 10 June 2018 Chelsea Manning reportedly posted a pair of tweets Sunday night that hinted suicide contemplation that have since been deleted. Lukas Mikelionis, Fox News, "Chelsea Manning 'safe' after tweet that sparked concern for safety: report," 28 May 2018 Perception, cognition and imagination play fast and furious, setting off a splendid storm of visually satisfying contemplation. David Pagel,, "Laurie Nye paints her way to Venus. You can join the ride," 16 May 2018 While such a tragic spate is unprecedented in speed climbing on El Capitan, recency forces contemplation. Kelly Cordes, Outside Online, "Even Tommy Caldwell Questioned the Nose Speed Record," 13 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contemplation.' 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 contemplation

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

History and Etymology for contemplation

see contemplate

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Last Updated

25 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for contemplation

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

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More Definitions for contemplation



English Language Learners Definition of contemplation

: the act of thinking deeply about something

: the act of looking carefully at something


con·​tem·​pla·​tion | \ˌkän-təm-ˈplā-shən \

Kids Definition of contemplation

1 : the act of thinking about spiritual things : meditation

2 : the act of looking at or thinking about something for some time

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Comments on contemplation

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