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

b : simultaneous

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

Martin, who is Mohawk, is one of the country’s foremost curators of contemporary indigenous art. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Unprecedented Billboard Campaign Puts Spotlight on Indigenous Artists in Canada," 13 July 2018 Working outward from her Omaha base at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Puleo drew together works by three-dozen regional artists – principally of Native American and Hispanic heritage – and created in response to contemporary events. George Fishman, miamiherald, "Monarchs ‘Brown and Native’ butterfly exhibit a response to contemporary events," 13 July 2018 This season — its 40th — will feature 500 diverse performers representing 17 cultures with origins on five continents, from AguaClara Flamenco (Spanish flamenco) to Ye Feng (Chinese contemporary). Claudia Bauer, SFChronicle.com, "San Francisco’s Ethnic Dance Fest celebrates 40 years," 12 July 2018 Many have been updates with contemporary kitchens, custom LED lighting, hardwood floors and colorful exteriors. Dana Burke, Houston Chronicle, "Homes for sale in East End, one of Houston's transforming neighborhoods," 12 July 2018 In Posturing, a new book by Self Publish Be Happy, 21 contemporary fashion photographers use the body in a variety of forms to create spreads that are modern, daring, and whimsically bizarre. Sarah Nechamkin, The Cut, "Celebrating the Body As a Fashion Oddity," 11 July 2018 King Liz' So many contemporary themes — power, gender, race and class — crowd the court in playwright Fernanda Coppel's story about agent Liz Rico, a powerful woman in a man's world of professional sports. Sandy Guerra-cline, star-telegram, "River rockers, kid actors and peaches make the top 10 list of things to do in DFW," 11 July 2018 This play tells a contemporary story but is also in some ways about a fire in Coney Island more than a century ago. Adam Rathe, Town & Country, "Fire In Dreamland is the Seaside Summer Play You've Been Waiting For," 10 July 2018 Including over 50 exquisitely crafted Spiffy puppets and fascinating backstage footage, Spiffy Pictures offers exciting insights into the magic of contemporary puppet production for television. Courant Community, "Community News For The Windham Edition," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Our contemporaries were Black Flag and the Butthole Surfers. Craig Rosen, Billboard, "Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner Talks Moving Past 'Absolute Embarrassment' to Reissue Band's First Two Albums," 27 June 2018 The extension comes at the mid-point of a six-year project to explore Mozart’s major works, played alongside works by his important contemporaries as well as works by composers strongly influenced by Mozart. Marcus Overton, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Mainly Mozart orchestra, led by Michael Francis, closes 30th season with impressive Mendelssohn," 24 June 2018 The idea that such uncanny poetry was coming out of an ordinary woman seemed so unlikely to her contemporaries that many believed something supernatural must be involved. Joy Lanzendorfer, Longreads, "Ghost Writer: The Story of Patience Worth, the Posthumous Author," 14 June 2018 But the tale of Miroslav Klose has been told in statistics, not in the loving tributes reserved for some of his more stylish contemporaries. SI.com, "World Cup Countdown: 1 Day to Go - Germany's Mild-Mannered Goal Machine, Miroslav Klose," 13 June 2018 Goncharova’s efforts in Rayonism and Futurism influenced her Russian contemporaries and were crucial in guiding future abstraction. National Geographic, "Beyond Picasso: 6 Female Artists Who Turned Modern Art On Its Head," 19 Apr. 2018 In March, Kevin Cole — today’s leading piano interpreter of music by George Gershwin and contemporaries — endured an eight-hour surgery to remove a noncancerous tumor from his brain. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Gershwin master Kevin Cole reclaims the piano after surgery," 1 July 2018 Why is NewSpring still here when Keystone, Technology Leaders, and other contemporaries are gone or in runoff mode? Joseph N. Distefano, Philly.com, "PACT honors NewSpring's Mike DiPiano as a Philly 'legend' in building companies," 4 May 2018 Lifelong friends and other contemporaries are long gone. Cindy George, Houston Chronicle, "Centenarians celebrate a century of sunrises at Houston’s Clarewood House," 28 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

com- + Latin tempor-, tempus — see contemporaneous

Noun

see contemporary entry 1

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Last Updated

3 Oct 2018

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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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