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

Per The Hollywood Reporter, the number was inspired by the long-running San Francisco musical revue show Beach Blanket Babylon, in which performers dress up as characters and perform satirical songs riffing on contemporary pop culture. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why the 2019 Oscars Don't Have a Host—And the Disaster That Ensued Last Time It Happened," 24 Feb. 2019 These are the worlds of modern-era Batman, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and so many other contemporary pop culture properties — universes in which cruelty is a given and social systems are destined to betray or disappoint. Aja Romano, Vox, "In the era of Trump and apocalyptic change, Hopepunk is a storytelling template for #resistance — and hanging onto your humanity at all costs.," 27 Dec. 2018 Lucie Khahoutian Lucie Khahoutian is an Armenian visual artist based in Paris whose work juxtaposes Western contemporary culture and traditional Armenian references. Sarah Nechamkin, The Cut, "Meet the Finalists for the New Vanguard Photography Prize," 2 July 2018 No figure is more mocked or ridiculed in our contemporary culture than this kind of moderate. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Anthony Kennedy and the Death of True American Conservatism," 29 June 2018 The Duke is interested in the contemporary relationship and the future. Jewish Journal, "Prince William's Israel tour marks first official royal visit," 25 June 2018 These stories, in any case, are irresistible, delivering a portrait of contemporary relationships that, although bleak, is shot through with veins of real connection. Julie Orringer, New York Times, "Short Stories That Travel the World From a Deliciously Off-Kilter Perspective," 22 June 2018 The book, published by Wesleyan Press and containing 92 vivid color photos, tells the story of contemporary rural life in eastern Connecticut and southern Massachusetts. Courant Community, "Community News For The Vernon Edition," 5 June 2018 An American Musical would remain a theatrical powerhouse and a fixture of contemporary American culture. Kate Keller, Smithsonian, "The Issue on the Table: Is “Hamilton” Good For History?," 30 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Hell, today, Reynold’s mustache alone is a bigger icon than most of his cultural contemporaries. Aja Romano, Vox, "Burt Reynolds, ’70s icon and movie star, is dead at 82," 6 Sep. 2018 The current leadership, most of whom are Mullah Omar's contemporaries, still believe their future in Afghanistan can be guaranteed only if the United States' concerns are addressed. Fox News, "Taliban official says group spoke with US official," 28 July 2018 Unlike many of her contemporaries in endocrinology who don’t know much about adaptogen supplements, though, Mullur does sometimes let her patients take them. Cheryl Wischhover, Vox, "Adaptogenic dusts, oils, and pills have a veneer of science, but there’s not much evidence to back them up.," 2 Nov. 2018 And Schneider famously worked in the bands of Earl Hines (a contemporary of Morton and Armstrong) and Count Basie. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Petra van Nuis celebrates the art of swing," 14 June 2018 The church, now located near City Avenue, was founded in 1792 by Absalom Jones, a contemporary of Bishop Richard Allen, who founded Mother Bethel. Valerie Russ, Philly.com, "'That was a black church sermon': Rev. Michael Curry brings passion to the Church of England," 19 May 2018 Right now, there are two completely different classic homes of his for sale in Portland: An English style one built in 1937 in the Southwest Hills and a Northwest contemporary completed in 1949 near Forest Park. Janet Eastman, OregonLive.com, "Classic, contrasting Wade Pipes' houses for sale: One English style, one Northwest contemporary (photos)," 9 Mar. 2018 The singer and composer, a contemporary of Julio Iglesias and a major name in the early days of Latin pop’s entry into the United States. Judy Cantor-navas, Billboard, "Listen to the Best Spanish Film Songs Nominated for the 2018 Goya Awards," 17 Jan. 2018 Location: Branford, Connecticut Price: $1,950,000 Nestled in a waterfront neighborhood, this four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath contemporary is just 90 minutes from Manhattan but feels lightyears away. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Airy, steel-framed house near the beach wants $1.95M," 7 Sep. 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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Statistics for contemporary

Last Updated

16 May 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 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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