con·​tem·​po·​ra·​ne·​ous kən-ˌtem-pə-ˈrā-nē-əs How to pronounce contemporaneous (audio)
: existing, occurring, or originating during the same time
social and political events that were contemporaneous with each other
contemporaneously adverb
contemporaneousness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for contemporaneous

contemporary, contemporaneous, coeval, synchronous, simultaneous, coincident mean existing or occurring at the same time.

contemporary is likely to apply to people and what relates to them.

Abraham Lincoln was contemporary with Charles Darwin

contemporaneous is more often applied to events than to people.

contemporaneous accounts of the kidnapping

coeval refers usually to periods, ages, eras, eons.

two stars thought to be coeval

synchronous implies exact correspondence in time and especially in periodic intervals.

synchronous timepieces

simultaneous implies correspondence in a moment of time.

the two shots were simultaneous

coincident is applied to events and may be used in order to avoid implication of causal relationship.

the end of World War II was coincident with a great vintage year

Examples of contemporaneous in a Sentence

the contemporaneous publication of the two articles contemporaneous accounts of the battle from officers on both sides
Recent Examples on the Web It has been investigated by the police and corroborated by her family, contemporaneous correspondence, and by her attacker, who pleaded guilty to legal charges for indecent assault in 2005. Constance Grady, Vox, 9 July 2024 So nearly all of Young’s albums have parallel histories — alternate versions including contemporaneous songs that wouldn’t be released until long after. Jem Aswad, Variety, 28 June 2024 Nevertheless, this show insists that the two shared more than a roughly contemporaneous lifespan: both artists, the exhibition's curators point out, focused on curvy bodies and extravagant outfits; both examine unfiltered desires, if in very different ways. The Week Uk, theweek, 14 June 2024 But on cross-examination, the prosecution seemed to undermine Ms. Biden Neal’s testimony by presenting contemporaneous text messages between her and her father portraying anguish over his behavior. Linda Feldmann, The Christian Science Monitor, 10 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for contemporaneous 

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

Word History


borrowed from Medieval Latin contemporāneus, from Latin con- con- + tempor-, tempus "time" + -āneus, compound suffix formed from -ānus -an entry 2 + -eus -eous — more at -eous

Note: The Latin word contemporāneus occurs as a noun in the sense "contemporary" in a chapter heading of Aulus Gellius's Noctes Atticae (19.14), though these headings are most likely a post-classical interpolation. The word is otherwise not attested before the early Middle Ages.

First Known Use

circa 1656, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of contemporaneous was circa 1656

Dictionary Entries Near contemporaneous

Cite this Entry

“Contemporaneous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


con·​tem·​po·​ra·​ne·​ous kən-ˌtem-pə-ˈrā-nē-əs How to pronounce contemporaneous (audio)
: existing, occurring, or beginning during the same time
contemporaneously adverb
contemporaneousness noun

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