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 Lamb has since invited Tenzing out to Miami this December to participate in Art Basel, North America's most comprehensive international contemporary art fair. Madeline Mitchell, Cincinnati.com, "'Are you Owen from Cincinnati?' 17-year-old Blink muralist gains national recognition," 7 Jan. 2020 That history comes to life with a bold fashion design that fuses ancient Indian imagery with contemporary street art. René A. Guzman, ExpressNews.com, "Exclusive: Patty Mills and the San Antonio Spurs team up with Tap Pilam for American Indian-inspired streetwear," 6 Jan. 2020 While SUVs like the Jeep Wrangler and Mercedes G-class carefully maintain visual connections to their past models, the new Defender’s appearance is more in line with contemporary models like the Discovery than the boxy original 1948 model. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "These are the best, most interesting, important vehicles coming in 2020," 6 Jan. 2020 But Ren’s problems are very much contemporary, and much closer to home. Jeanne Whalen, Washington Post, "Trump has tried to clip Huawei’s wings abroad. Now it faces head winds at home.," 13 Dec. 2019 Geochemical analysis of the pigments involved could be used to establish confidence that the images in Leang Bulu’ Sipong 4 are contemporary. Kate Wong, Scientific American, "Is This Indonesian Cave Painting the Earliest Portrayal of a Mythical Story?," 12 Dec. 2019 Bang also included the importance of investing in creators, but emphasized those must have a statement that speaks to a particular era, is contemporary, and brings a level of enthusiasm to their followers. Jeff Benjamin, Billboard, "Big Hit Entertainment CEO Bang Si-Hyuk Explains What Makes BTS 'The Beatles of the YouTube Generation' at Korean Culture Summit," 25 Nov. 2019 The facility is modern contemporary with iconic British design elements. Nancy Ngo, Twin Cities, "Restaurant party spaces for that coming holiday soiree and beyond," 14 Nov. 2019 For example, there’s a transitional elevation that isn’t contemporary or traditional, but somewhere in between. Michelle Sandlin, Houston Chronicle, "On the Move: Relocation Spotlight on Toll Brothers," 25 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The velocity of modern life is often reflected in the art of Sargent and his Impressionist contemporaries. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, "John Singer Sargent shows how it’s done in masterful ‘Venetian Interior’," 18 Dec. 2019 Notably, the tag spells the name of a famous Soviet-era tank introduced during World War II and often credited with outgunning and outmaneuvering its German contemporaries. Reis Thebault, Anchorage Daily News, "Russians spotted a polar bear painted in cryptic graffiti. Scientists are searching for answers.," 4 Dec. 2019 He’s often grouped with (and unjustly overshadowed by) contemporaries such as Raymond Carver and Richard Ford, but the comparison is misleading. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction Books: A Sinner at Home in a Fallen World," 18 Oct. 2018 Cunningham and his contemporaries came off as tricksters but prized clarity. Rumaan Alam, The New Republic, "Merce Cunningham’s Dance Out of Time," 18 Dec. 2019 In lieu of his allusions to people, places and details that his contemporaries would recognize but might be mysterious to others, Bradfield makes use of footnotes. Nancy Lord, Anchorage Daily News, "Poet and naturalist Elizabeth Bradfield turns her vision south," 15 Dec. 2019 As many of her contemporaries rock leotards and mini skirts on stage, Billie always opts for clothes that are less form fitting and revealing. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Billie Eilish Still Doesn’t Think People Understand Why She Dresses the Way She Does," 12 Dec. 2019 The book contains about 160 of Vasari’s gossipy and insightful mini-profiles of his contemporaries and predecessors. Mary Carole Mccauley, baltimoresun.com, "Artworks by women are in short supply at Baltimore museums. Here’s why.," 10 Dec. 2019 But the new show, which includes 99 paintings of nature studies, portraits and landscapes by 18 artists, makes an argument that he and his contemporaries should be recognized on their own merits, as some of India’s greatest painters. Amy Crawford, Smithsonian, "The Awe-Inspiring Wildlife Drawings of Shaikh Zain ud-Din," 22 Nov. 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

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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Time Traveler for contemporary

Time Traveler

The first known use of contemporary was in 1614

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Statistics for contemporary

Last Updated

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Contemporary.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/contemporary. Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for contemporary

contemporary

adjective
How to pronounce contemporary (audio)

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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