1

contemporary

adjective con·tem·po·rary \ kən-ˈtem-pə-ˌrer-ē , -ˌre-rē \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of contemporary

1 a : 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.

contemporarily

play \kən-ˌtem-pə-ˈrer-ə-lē\ adverb

Examples of contemporary in a Sentence

  1. the absurd notion that early cave dwellers were contemporary with the dinosaurs

  2. a magazine devoted to contemporary fashions

Recent Examples of contemporary from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of contemporary

com- + Latin tempor-, tempus — see contemporaneous

Synonym Discussion of contemporary

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

2

contemporary

noun

Definition of contemporary

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

Examples of contemporary in a Sentence

  1. He was a contemporary of George Washington.

  2. She is politically very different from most of her contemporaries.

Recent Examples of contemporary from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of contemporary

contemporary Synonyms


CONTEMPORARY Defined for English Language Learners

contemporary

adjective

Definition of contemporary for English Language Learners

  • : happening or beginning now or in recent times

  • : existing or happening in the same time period : from the same time period


contemporary

noun

Definition of contemporary for English Language Learners

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


CONTEMPORARY Defined for Kids

1

contemporary

adjective con·tem·po·rary \ kən-ˈtem-pə-ˌrer-ē \

Definition of contemporary for Students

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

Word Root of contemporary

The Latin word tempus, meaning “time,”and its form temporis give us the roots temp and tempor. Words from the Latin tempus have something to do with time. Something temporary lasts only a short time. Someone or something contemporary lives or occurs at the same time as someone or something else. A tempo is the speed at which music is performed in time.


2

contemporary

noun

Definition of contemporary for Students

plural contemporaries
: 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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