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

The second most expensive home, located off Briar Drive in Tanglewood, offers a contemporary feel with an open floor plan and rooms that overlook extensive outdoor patios. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Inside the most expensive homes that sold in Houston in May," 12 June 2019 Then there was The Cher Show, which plays with time by having three different actresses embody different stages of Cher’s life, and Hadestown, which translates the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice to a more contemporary setting. Christian Holub, EW.com, "Watch all the performances from the 2019 Tony Awards," 10 June 2019 In comparison to her sister-in-law, Meghan's look was more contemporary and daring—a fitting choice given her decision to depart from tradition in some many ways with regards to her new bundle of joy. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, "Here's How Meghan Markle's Baby Debut Outfit Compared to Kate Middleton's," 8 May 2019 For myself, the past is the source (for all art is vitally contemporary). Andrew Martin, Harper's magazine, "Not Mere Projection," 10 Mar. 2019 The Andaz Vienna, close to attractions such as the Wiener Prater and Schönbrunn Zoo, is more contemporary. Amy Tara Koch, Twin Cities, "Finding European hotel rooms for families can be tough. Here are suggestions in 8 cities.," 6 July 2019 The Andaz Vienna, close to attractions such as the Wiener Prater and Schönbrunn Zoo, is more contemporary. Amy Tara Koch, Washington Post, "Finding European hotel rooms for families can be tough. Here are suggestions in eight cities.," 28 June 2019 YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, and people's curiosity extends beyond what's contemporary. Emma Grey Ellis, WIRED, "Spiff Up Your Real-World Skills With Old Timey YouTube," 25 June 2019 The sneaker collab, which features a white/green and a gold/black shoe, certainly encompass their goal of being both contemporary and classic. Tatum Dooley, Teen Vogue, "From Converse x OPI to Loewe’s Ballet Runners, These are the Sneakers We’re Eyeing This Week," 20 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In fairness, Madonna's tickets prices are part of an even evolution in how concerts are priced, although the Queen of Pop has always charged more for tickets than her contemporaries. Dave Brooks, Billboard, "Madonna's 17 Madame X Shows In New York Are More Than 90% Sold Out, So Everybody Chill," 12 June 2019 Hitler, or Stalin, comes to look like a two-dimensional villain—someone whom contemporaries could not have seen as a human being. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "The Unimaginable Reality of American Concentration Camps," 21 June 2019 The food of Pernoi enjoys few modern contemporaries in metro Detroit. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "An early taste of Pernoi, one of metro Detroit's most anticipated restaurants ever," 19 June 2019 Not one of his predecessors or contemporaries produced anything comparable in range, speculative brilliance, and visual intensity. Claudia Kalb, National Geographic, "Why Leonardo da Vinci’s brilliance endures, 500 years after his death," 12 June 2019 The women characters, of all ages and classes, comedic and tragic, are fantastically well written, far surpassing the writing of women by any contemporaries. Mark Rylance, The Atlantic, "Keep Questioning Shakespeare’s Identity," 8 June 2019 Shakespeare’s contemporaries wondered if English could ever equal Latin. Stephanie Burt, WSJ, "There’s a Poem for Every Reader," 8 June 2019 Lister had contemporaries who lived quite openly, though these couples were certainly uncommon. Jeanna Kadlec, Longreads, "The 19th Century Lesbian Made for 21st Century Consumption," 7 June 2019 The Big Ten survives with contemporaries Allianz Life, Libman Company and Tootsie Roll. John Shipley, Twin Cities, "John Shipley: Under Jim Delany, Big Ten grew into a beast," 5 June 2019

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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Statistics for contemporary

Last Updated

11 Jul 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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Comments on contemporary

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