contemporary

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

Each lives a very contemporary American life while wrestling with the effects that their heritage imposes upon their daily experiences. Joan Gaylord, The Christian Science Monitor, "'There There' weaves a powerful tale of contemporary urban Native Americans," 2 July 2018 The principal hypothesis is that, for all of its horror, the experience of war can give soldiers a sense of purpose and community that is hard to find in contemporary civilian life. Martin Fritz Huber, Outside Online, "'Leave No Trace' Is Brutally Honest About Rewilding," 28 June 2018 During this time, the art market was growing fast: Between 2005 and 2015, annual sales doubled to reach $63.8 billion, and more contemporary art is being produced and sold every day. Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, Longreads, "Tax-Free Storage Wars," 29 May 2018 That’s a difference, probably, that’s much more contemporary. National Geographic, "This Museum Director Is Working to Make the Art World More Equitable For Women," 18 May 2018 Another powerful duo, albeit of a considerably more contemporary nature, is this Saturday’s teaming of Ja Rule and Ashanti at Cache Creek. Mel Shields, sacbee, "Stills and Collins, Gramm offer nostalgia appeal at weekend casino shows," 18 May 2018 Greeting guests upon entry were lively flutes of bubbles, the perfect thing to sip while peering into vitrines of vintage gems, which were all encased in custom art installations by contemporary artist Sammy Slabbinck. Vogue, "Dover Street Market and Sotheby’s Host a Glittering Dinner," 5 Dec. 2018 Despite her lack of recent material, her sole album stands as an inspiration to popular contemporary artists, including Beyoncé and Adele. Fox News, "8 stars who vanished from the public eye," 27 July 2018 Funny moment today as William and Kate join artist Dario Vargas, a contemporary fine artist from Columbia, who is painting an original piece inspired by the Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince William Makes a Dad Joke About Kate Middleton's Art Skills," 9 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But as these sorts of corporate conglomerates continue to grow and expand with more and more competing streaming services, the potential for AT&T and WarnerMedia (and their contemporaries) is only growing. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "AT&T and Dish’s HBO battle is the bleak future of cable and streaming," 2 Nov. 2018 Looking at Serena’s contemporaries is equally amazing: Venus has the same exact amount of career wins with 95 more losses. Chris Chase, For The Win, "23 incredible stats from Serena Williams' 23 grand slam titles," 30 May 2018 But his outward charisma hid a darker side, which some contemporaries thought verged on sociopathy. Stephen Benedict Dyson, Washington Post, "Tired of American news? ‘A Very English Scandal’ plunges you into 1970s British social repression and political ambition.," 3 July 2018 Chuck Courtney, a San Diego contemporary who was three years younger, remembered a junior golf trip to Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. Tod Leonard, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Phil Rodgers dies; San Diegan enjoyed golf successes playing, teaching," 26 June 2018 Distance-running contemporaries have criticized Steve's lead-from-the-front style. Andrew Greif, OregonLive.com, "In intimate tour, Steve Prefontaine's sister shares iconic runner's life story, hometown," 25 May 2018 Hair Live! is based on the late '60s off-Broadway and Broadway hit and is a rock musical contemporary of NBC's recent, critically acclaimed Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "NBC taps inner hippie with 'Hair Live!' as next musical, set for spring," 24 May 2018 Here are six of Picasso's female contemporaries who also shaped the modern art scene. National Geographic, "Beyond Picasso: 6 Female Artists Who Turned Modern Art On Its Head," 19 Apr. 2018 It was filled with artwork and furniture by Balthus, Atlan, César, and Hiquily, combined with cutting-edge contemporary as well as neoclassical design. David Netto, Town & Country, "The Enduring Legacy of French Interior Designer Henri Samuel," 15 Mar. 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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Last Updated

10 Jan 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 \

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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