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 Could Emergent donate Narcan to help with the shortage, the Remedy members asked during one phone call, according to two Remedy executives on the call and contemporaneous handwritten notes. Todd C. Frankel, Washington Post, 18 Sep. 2023 Toronto this year also boasts of a U.K. film set in contemporaneous times that does not draw a direct parallel to history but is rather informed by it. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 8 Sep. 2023 Even a court document from divorce proceedings in 1996 provided some contemporaneous evidence. Prem Thakker, The New Republic, 30 May 2023 The record holder is as obscure as Webb: Brooklyn Robins rookie outfielder Johnny Frederick, whose doubles totals mirrored the contemporaneous stock market crash of the Great Depression, falling to 44, 34, 28, 22 and 20 the next five years. Steve Henson, Los Angeles Times, 28 Aug. 2023 The Justice Department’s case against Trump relies on Pence’s contemporaneous notes. Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY, 21 Aug. 2023 This account is based on internal documents, court files, congressional records, handwritten contemporaneous notes, and interviews with more than two dozen current and former prosecutors, investigators, and others with knowledge of the probe. Carol D. Leonnig and Aaron C. Davis, Anchorage Daily News, 19 June 2023 One revelation is that Pence kept contemporaneous notes of certain key meetings. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, 13 Aug. 2023 The indictment mentions contemporaneous notes Pence took during key meetings and phone calls as Trump and his allies pressured him to reject electoral votes following the 2020 presidential election. Ken Tran, USA TODAY, 6 Aug. 2023 See More

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 23 Sep. 2023.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on contemporaneous

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!