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 characteristically intricate musical score by Davis draws from R&B, funk and hip-hop, as well as contemporary classical music and jazz. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Donald Trump, opera star? Maybe so, in Anthony Davis’ ‘Central Park Five’," 9 June 2019 After, guests can explore the Mount Veeder vineyards via ATV or wander among owner Donald Hess’s personal collection of contemporary art housed on the property. Stephanie Cain, Fortune, "The Wine Country Tasting Room Is Dead. But Long Live Wine Country," 9 June 2019 The guesthouse sports its own contemporary kitchen and sitting room, which directly overlooks the pool/spa area. Variety, The Mercury News, "Apttus co-founder Kent Perkocha scores $22 million Atherton estate," 9 June 2019 Five of the flags outside represent the provinces lost in 1948, when the peninsula was formally sundered (contemporary North Korea has nine provinces). The Economist, "The South Korean bureaucrats who pretend to run North Korea," 8 June 2019 Beginning January 1, 2020, Casper's 25,000-square-foot Nicolaysen Art Museum (focusing on contemporary arts in the Rocky Mountain region) will host a year of exhibits dedicated to women. Jennifer Billock, Smithsonian, "Women Have Been Voting in Wyoming for 150 Years, and Here Is How the State is Celebrating," 7 June 2019 The show as a whole reflects a more contemporary understanding of what inclusion should look like: actors of color, trans and gender-nonconforming actors, and actors with disabilities. Louis Peitzman, Time, "Netflix's Tales of the City Is What Inclusion on TV Should Look Like," 6 June 2019 In short, the late 1990s are almost unrecognizable in contemporary terms. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "1998 Was a Seinfeld Election—Not an Impeachment Referendum," 6 June 2019 The contemporary production is a mix of blues, hip-hop, jazz, rap, R&B and Broadway-style music. Mary Bergin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Chicago's 'Hamilton' exhibit showcases the real history highlighted in the popular musical," 5 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The plays modern readers know as Shakespeare’s were regularly attributed to him not only after his death, but also by a large number of his contemporaries. David Ellis, The Atlantic, "The Logical Gymnastics of Shakespeare Biography," 8 June 2019 With five goals and five assists across competitions, the Belgian has never been far from the action and, like so many of his contemporaries, is capable of playing further upfield if need be. SI.com, "Atalanta: 6 Players You Should Know After Their Historic Champions League Qualification," 6 June 2019 Kering’s roster of brands will have several months to adjust to the new guidelines, but the success of that may depend on how many of its contemporaries adopt similar initiatives. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Kering Commits to Using Models Over 18: Will the Rest of the Fashion World Follow Suit?," 15 May 2019 Franklin’s career around this point was dogged by stories of her comparing herself to her female soul and pop contemporaries and suffering from insecurities and jealousy. Naima Cochrane, Vox, "Aretha Franklin’s long reign as the Queen of Soul, explained in 12 performances," 16 Aug. 2018 Newton’s contemporaries were appalled at his theory of gravity. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Lost in Math," 29 Apr. 2018 Hell, today, Reynold’s mustache alone is a bigger icon than most of his cultural contemporaries. Aja Romano, Vox, "Burt Reynolds, ’70s icon and movie star, is dead at 82," 6 Sep. 2018 The current leadership, most of whom are Mullah Omar's contemporaries, still believe their future in Afghanistan can be guaranteed only if the United States' concerns are addressed. Fox News, "Taliban official says group spoke with US official," 28 July 2018 Unlike many of her contemporaries in endocrinology who don’t know much about adaptogen supplements, though, Mullur does sometimes let her patients take them. Cheryl Wischhover, Vox, "Adaptogenic dusts, oils, and pills have a veneer of science, but there’s not much evidence to back them up.," 2 Nov. 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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Statistics for contemporary

Last Updated

13 Jun 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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