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 contemporary (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 Ronnie Dunn and Kix Brooks rerecorded some of their biggest hits with contemporary country stars like Kacey Musgraves and Brothers Osborne for 2019’s Reboot album, signaling that their 2015 reunion was an ongoing endeavor. Joseph Hudak, Rolling Stone, 14 June 2021 Mae is suspicious of the contemporary tendency to classify feelings with a diagnosis. Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, 14 June 2021 Ten photographers chosen as indicative of white or Black or Asian-American contemporary culture would have a comparably imprecise, and challenging, task. BostonGlobe.com, 2 June 2021 The discussion was designed to inform a deeper understanding of contemporary indigenous culture and the living writers who represent its diversity and strength. courant.com, 21 May 2021 When asked about the company’s place in contemporary culture, Sokolowski describes its mission in journalistic terms. Anne Quito, Quartz, 11 May 2021 Opera is seldom a first-responder to contemporary culture; full productions can take years to stage. Washington Post, 7 May 2021 The 1980s East Village and SoHo was inarguably the most significant creative community forming the contemporary counter-culture that’s been erased by real estate greed. Natasha Gural, Forbes, 28 Apr. 2021 Justin Theroux — Paul’s nephew; both are executive producers — takes the Ford role as a disillusioned father determined to extract himself and his family from contemporary American culture, poisoned by excess and waste. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 26 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Good thing then that Smith knows when to steer toward the contemporary. BostonGlobe.com, 27 May 2021 Telemann, a contemporary of Bach, lived to be 86 and wrote well over 3,000 pieces of music. Sally Schwartz, chicagotribune.com, 24 May 2021 This is why the region has produced so many talents, including Moctar’s contemporary, Bombino, as well as his predecessor and mentor, Abdallah Oumbadougou, who died in January 2020. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 20 May 2021 Also, Luke’s great-grandfather was Chuck Thompson, the beloved Baltimore sportscaster and a contemporary of Jim McKay. Melissa Whatley, baltimoresun.com, 11 May 2021 Colin Firth, a contemporary of Goldblum, is a prime example. Washington Post, 29 Apr. 2021 The Jewish Alexandrian philosopher Philo, an older contemporary of Jesus in the first century, interpreted the event literally and justified the Israelites’ actions. David Lincicum, The Conversation, 28 Apr. 2021 He was known as a pugilist with the resources to back risky projects, bringing more new plays to Broadway each season than any contemporary. Lee Seymour, Forbes, 17 Apr. 2021 Who now remembers Gustave Beer, a contemporary of Charles Frederick Worth? Judith Thurman, The New Yorker, 22 Mar. 2021

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

1614, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun

1614, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for contemporary

Adjective

probably borrowed from New Latin contemporārius "existing at the same period of time," from Latin con- con- + tempor-, tempus "time" + -ārius -ary entry 2 — more at tempo

Note: The suffixation may be modeled on Latin temporārius; see temporary entry 1.

Noun

derivative of contemporary entry 1, or from nominal use of its probable source, New Latin contemporārius

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Learn More About contemporary

Time Traveler for contemporary

Time Traveler

The first known use of contemporary was in 1614

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Statistics for contemporary

Last Updated

17 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Contemporary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/contemporary. Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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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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