con·​tem·​pla·​tive | \ kən-ˈtem-plə-tiv How to pronounce contemplative (audio) ; ˈkän-təm-ˌplā-, -ˌtem- How to pronounce contemplative (audio) \

Definition of contemplative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: marked by or given to contemplation specifically : of or relating to a religious order devoted to prayer and penance a contemplative order of nuns



Definition of contemplative (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who practices contemplation

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Other Words from contemplative


contemplatively adverb
contemplativeness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for contemplative

Synonyms: Adjective

broody, cogitative, meditative, melancholy, musing, pensive, reflective, ruminant, ruminative, thoughtful

Antonyms: Adjective


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Examples of contemplative in a Sentence


He has lived a quiet, contemplative life. She joined a contemplative order of nuns.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The first third of the recording, which features three Iverson works, is contemplative. Martin Johnson, WSJ, "‘Temporary Kings’ Review: Alluringly Reserved," 11 Sep. 2018 Hello Games’ next game looks like the polar opposite of No Man’s Sky: a short, quiet, contemplative experience with a strong story to tell. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "The 40 games we can’t wait to play in 2019," 26 Dec. 2018 Teigen wrote on Instagram on Sunday, sharing a sweet first look at Miles in all his contemplative newborn glory. Kate Stanhope,, "Constance Zimmer weighs in on 'UnReal's' potential final season and move to Hulu," 22 May 2018 An interior waterfall lowers the temperature, adjacent to a contemplative open space beneath the slabs. Julie V. Iovine, WSJ, "The Best Architecture of 2018: Building for Complex Experiences," 14 Dec. 2018 Weepiness Level: Lip-quivering with perhaps a contemplative tear. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "15 Sad Movies for When You Need Something to Cry About," 3 Oct. 2018 Where de Meuron is subdued, contemplative, almost impassive, Herzog is frank and energetic. Ian Volner, WSJ, "Swiss Architecture Firm Herzog & De Meuron Celebrates 40 Years," 4 Nov. 2018 The excitement of the Menil has always been the contrast between its contemplative interiors and its additive plan. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "A museum grows in Houston," 1 Nov. 2018 Seven glass lenses cast soft hues of light across different sections of the building, adding a sense of wonder and serenity to the contemplative space. The Seattle Times, "Secret Seattle: 10 hidden neighborhood hangouts," 15 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Regarding cross-checking interpersonal experience, both contemplatives and the texts dealing with the various experiences a meditator might encounter are quite precise in their descriptions. Matthieu Ricard, The Atlantic, "Neuroscience Has a Lot To Learn from Buddhism," 17 Dec. 2017

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


14th century, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for contemplative


see contemplate


see contemplate

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Time Traveler for contemplative

The first known use of contemplative was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of contemplative

: involving, allowing, or causing deep thought
: devoted to religious thought and prayer

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