contemporary

adjective
con·​tem·​po·​rary | \ kən-ˈtem-pə-ˌrer-ē How to pronounce contemporary (audio) , -ˌre-rē\

Definition of contemporary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : marked by characteristics of the present period : modern, current contemporary American literature contemporary standards
2 : happening, existing, living, or coming into being during the same period of time The book is based on contemporary accounts of the war.

contemporary

noun
plural contemporaries

Definition of contemporary (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one that is contemporary with another Petrarch and Chaucer were contemporaries.
2 : one of the same or nearly the same age as another

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Other Words from contemporary

Adjective

contemporarily \ kən-​ˌtem-​pə-​ˈrer-​ə-​lē How to pronounce contemporarily (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for contemporary

Adjective

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

Did You Know?

Contemporary can be confusing because of its slightly different meanings. In everyday use, it generally means simply "modern" or "new". But before the 20th century it instead referred only to things from the same era as certain other things; so, for instance, Jesus was contemporary with the Roman emperors Augustus and Tiberius, and Muhammad was contemporary with Pope Gregory the Great. And contemporary is also a noun: thus, Jane Austen's contemporaries included Coleridge and Wordsworth, and your own contemporaries were born around the same year that you were.

Examples of contemporary in a Sentence

Adjective

the absurd notion that early cave dwellers were contemporary with the dinosaurs a magazine devoted to contemporary fashions

Noun

He was a contemporary of George Washington. She is politically very different from most of her contemporaries.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Of course, that’s a selling point for many contemporary brands in today’s climate. Jessica Andrews, Teen Vogue, "The Best Baby Phat Fashion Moments of All Time, Ahead of the Relaunch," 13 Mar. 2019 Another lesson in balance: The old-timey lines and brown wood of an antique armchair in the living room beg for a contemporary fabric. Amanda Sims, House Beautiful, "11 Truly Surprising Ways to Use Color," 11 Mar. 2019 The new floor is a mix of the top luxury designers—like Fendi, Stella McCartney, and Valentino Garavani—and contemporary American brands, like Staud and Susan Alexandra. Diana Nguyen, Harper's BAZAAR, "You Can Only Buy These Handbags at Saks—And WE WANT THEM ALL," 8 Mar. 2019 His mock recreation of a 1992 ski film, using all period equipment, is a time-warp masterpiece that makes explicit points about slavish commitment to contemporary styles. Chuck Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Is Everyone Skiing on the Wrong Skis?," 21 Feb. 2019 Designed as an indoor-outdoor hotel, the contemporary space is adorned in modern art installations from the hotel owner’s private collection as well as photographs from Mexican artists such as Eduardo Zaylan. Jaimie Potters, ELLE Decor, "A Design Lover's Guide to Visiting San Miguel de Allende," 7 Jan. 2019 Wellesley College professor Mingwei Song and UCLA professor emeritus Theodore Huters have assembled a fascinating anthology of some of the contemporary stories coming out of China today. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Our favorite science fiction and fantasy books of 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 Welcome to what might be the world’s best brunch buffet, served in Joule’s airy, contemporary space every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bethany Jean Clement, The Seattle Times, "An all-you-can-eat secret at one of Seattle’s best restaurants: brunch at Joule," 16 Oct. 2018 While Sleepy Jones makes $200 cotton pajama sets, other contemporary sleepwear brands are appealing to customers by debuting innovative fabric. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "Getting a good night’s sleep is a luxury — and can come at a high price.," 9 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Location: Branford, Connecticut Price: $1,950,000 Nestled in a waterfront neighborhood, this four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath contemporary is just 90 minutes from Manhattan but feels lightyears away. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Airy, steel-framed house near the beach wants $1.95M," 7 Sep. 2018 Now on the fringe of adulthood and with two albums under its belt, Mourn is starting to adroitly settle in next to its punk contemporaries. 8 p.m. $12-$14. Efrain Dorado, RedEye Chicago, "5 must-see Chicago concerts this week: of Montreal, Mourn, Jay Som," 4 Sep. 2017 Yet while she was widely resented for commanding more attention and better equipment than male contemporaries with comparable records, Patrick was simultaneously and deservedly celebrated for a pioneering place in her sport. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Despite an abrupt Indy 500 exit, Danica Patrick's legacy is cemented," 27 May 2018 His style is eccentric, amazing, and full of life, and a bit more optimistic than his early 90s contemporaries. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "17 Songs About Space That Are Cosmically Great," 3 Mar. 2017 Voters may look ahead to the time when a woman sits behind the Resolute Desk—but is that time now, or would a Trump contemporary have a better chance of actually defeating him? Celeste Katz, Glamour, "Who’s In and Who’s Out of the 2020 Presidential Race—So Far," 3 Jan. 2019 The program also held the belated CSO premiere of a fascinating rarity for voices and orchestra by Luigi Cherubini, an older contemporary of Rossini’s whose music Muti has long advocated. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, "Muti leads CSO and Chorus in stirring season finale, Rossini's Stabat Mater," 22 June 2018 But as these sorts of corporate conglomerates continue to grow and expand with more and more competing streaming services, the potential for AT&T and WarnerMedia (and their contemporaries) is only growing. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "AT&T and Dish’s HBO battle is the bleak future of cable and streaming," 2 Nov. 2018 Looking at Serena’s contemporaries is equally amazing: Venus has the same exact amount of career wins with 95 more losses. Chris Chase, For The Win, "23 incredible stats from Serena Williams' 23 grand slam titles," 30 May 2018

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

Adjective

1631, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun

1638, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for contemporary

Adjective and Noun

com- + Latin tempor-, tempus — see contemporaneous

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Last Updated

21 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for contemporary

The first known use of contemporary was in 1631

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More Definitions for contemporary

contemporary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of contemporary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: happening or beginning now or in recent times
: existing or happening in the same time period : from the same time period

contemporary

noun

English Language Learners Definition of contemporary (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who lives at the same time or is about the same age as another person

contemporary

adjective
con·​tem·​po·​rary | \ kən-ˈtem-pə-ˌrer-ē How to pronounce contemporary (audio) \

Kids Definition of contemporary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : living or occurring at the same period of time Mark Twain and Jack London were contemporary writers.
2 : modern sense 1 contemporary musicians

contemporary

noun
plural contemporaries

Kids Definition of contemporary (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who lives at the same time or is about the same age as another Mark Twain and Jack London were contemporaries.

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