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 contemporary (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 Shahzia Sikander, 51, is known for bringing traditional Indo-Persian miniature painting into contemporary art. Susan Delson, WSJ, "New Art for a New Year," 1 Jan. 2021 The art school was founded in 1871 and is one of the nation’s oldest specializing in contemporary art. Vanessa Arredondo, SFChronicle.com, "UC Regents become S.F. Art Institute’s landlord after paying off its debt," 31 Dec. 2020 Online sites such as saatchiart.com and absolutarts.com are fantastic places to peruse contemporary art in a myriad of genres and price points. Shivani Vora, refinery29.com, "A Beginner’s Guide To Building An Art Collection — On A Budget," 30 Dec. 2020 Today’s museum-goer interested in contemporary art faces a bewildering landscape. Washington Post, "An independent curator tries to make sense of contemporary art," 29 Dec. 2020 There is no contemporary art without African descent. Calvin Tomkins, The New Yorker, "Arthur Jafa’s Radical Alienation," 14 Dec. 2020 The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio boasts a world-class contemporary art collection. jsonline.com, "Our subscribers make this reporting possible. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the Journal Sentinel.," 10 Dec. 2020 Directed and styled by Nicole Walker, founder of contemporary art meets fashion platform Amaze, the abstract clip features Assbring in runway pieces chosen for her by Gvasalia. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "The Artist Is Present! El Perro Del Mar on Fashion, Creativity, and Collaboration," 10 Dec. 2020 But apart from occasional contemporary art exhibits such as that of Iraqi sculptor Omer Qais last month, there is nothing to see. Samya Kullab, The Christian Science Monitor, "'This is our history': In Mosul, life and resilience shines," 9 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Tu-95MS is from roughly the same era, and the American B-52H bomber is a contemporary of both. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Watch Russian and Chinese Bombers Fly a Rare Joint Mission Over the Pacific," 25 Dec. 2020 Some passages in the book are almost poetic, as Dyson riffs from one subject to the next and from the historical to the contemporary with the improvisational flair of a jazzman. Washington Post, "Black America, White violence and generations of unhealed wounds," 4 Dec. 2020 From the archives Thirty years ago, actress Raquel Welch bought a one-story contemporary in the Trousdale area of Beverly Hills for close to its $1.6-million asking price. Los Angeles Times, "Hot Property newsletter: A bounty of real estate fare," 28 Nov. 2020 Like his English contemporary Max Beerbohm, the French Max was also a dandy, one who sported a monocle, favored pink shirts and carried a walking stick. Washington Post, "Who was Max Jacob? A poet, friend of Picasso and, a new biography shows, a man who defied easy labels," 21 Oct. 2020 The four-bedroom contemporary just west of town smelled of fresh paint, flooring, sealant and new beginnings. Washington Post, "New homes on the range: Weary city dwellers escape to Montana, creating a property gold rush," 20 Oct. 2020 Williams is a versatile singer who has charted across genres, including pop, dance, R&B, adult contemporary, holiday, Latin, gospel and jazz. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Patti LuPone highlights special Playhouse Square streaming event," 5 Oct. 2020 Lord Bryce, a writer and diplomat who was a contemporary of Theodore Roosevelt’s, warned of the dangers of a renegade president. Jon Meacham, Town & Country, "Jon Meacham on the One Thing That Might Decide This Mess of an Election: Decency," 30 Sep. 2020 The complicated legacy and the palace intrigue of this contemporary of Queen Victoria would make for an engrossing biopic. Lila Thulin, Smithsonian Magazine, "Nine Women Whose Remarkable Lives Deserve the Biopic Treatment," 7 Feb. 2020

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

12 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Contemporary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/contemporary. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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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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