con·​tem·​pla·​tion | \ ˌkän-təm-ˈplā-shən How to pronounce contemplation (audio) , -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 At the heart of the latter is a marble shell water fountain, intended to inspire serenity and contemplation. Rachel King, Fortune, "Where you should eat, visit, and stay in Marrakech," 6 Mar. 2020 However, for many people—especially highly sensitive people, or HSPs—contemplation can quickly trend toward overthinking, and just as quickly, turn into paralyzing anxiety and stress that blocks your productivity and creativity. Melody Wilding, Quartz at Work, "How to make hypersensitivity your strongest skill at work," 9 Dec. 2019 Humankind’s first journeys beyond the haven of Earth, into the void and the desolate places beyond, is a story filled with multifold perspectives and endless contemplations. Jay Bennett, Smithsonian, "Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins on the Past and Future of Space Exploration," 20 July 2019 Tucked nearly out of sight of the street, this tranquil space is ideal for appreciating superbly crafted coffee in an atmosphere that invites quiet contemplation. Chris Morocco, Bon Appétit, "A Coffee-Obsessive’s Guide to Drinking the Best Coffee in Vancouver," 7 Nov. 2019 As church attendance continues to decline in Western Europe, new types of spaces for individual contemplation are gaining popularity, explains Jens Koehre, a pastor in Andeer. Anne Quito, Quartz, "Autobahnkirche: The surprising rise of roadside chapels in Western Europe," 22 Feb. 2020 There are plenty of mystic mementos strewn about the Observer’s private hideaway on Goat Island for off-season contemplation, but when the lights are on and the horses affixed, the Observer’s mission is to be maximally present. al, "Masked Observer declares Mobile ‘THE place for Mardi Gras’," 5 Feb. 2020 The work in the kitchen and at the farm is done almost completely in silence, as is the majority of their daily routine consisting of prayer together and individual contemplation. Emma Austin, The Courier-Journal, "The best fruitcake in the world might be this boozy one made by these Kentucky monks," 19 Dec. 2019 Riccardo Muti launched his 10th season as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Thursday evening with a program rich in contemplation and brightened with brilliant orchestral color. Howard Reich,, "CSO review: Riccardo Muti opens his 10th season with vivid Shostakovich," 20 Sep. 2019

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

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

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Time Traveler for contemplation

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for contemplation

Last Updated

28 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Contemplation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for contemplation


How to pronounce contemplation (audio)

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 How to pronounce contemplation (audio) \

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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