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

These days, lotería enjoys plenty of clever and contemporary interpretations, especially in and around the Alamo City. René A. Guzman, ExpressNews.com, "Central Library celebrates Hispanic heritage with a whole lot of lotería," 15 Sep. 2019 These projects reaffirm Reynolds’ lofty status as a fearless artistic force who boldly continues to expand the parameters and the possibilities of experimental and contemporary classical music. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Fall arts 2019 | Classical music: Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Roger Reynolds a whirlwind of music," 15 Sep. 2019 The stunning estate offers a contemporary and casual feel with amenities that include a wine vault, game room, outdoor loggia, pool and spa surrounded by a sprawling backyard. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Stunning Beverly Hills-style Spanish villa among Houston's most expensive homes sold in August," 13 Sep. 2019 From China’s Hebei Province comes Cirque Mei, serving up a exhilarating family-friendly mix of traditional and contemporary circus feats. Randy Mcmullen, The Mercury News, "China’s eye-popping Cirque Mei comes to Palo Alto," 11 Sep. 2019 Each of the four classically elegant apartments, which range from two bedrooms to seven, has a well-equipped kitchen, plush Simmons mattresses, and an eclectic mix of antique and contemporary furniture. Andrea Whittle, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Locals' Guide to Venice," 4 Sep. 2019 The facility on Hancock Street in San Diego offers contemporary and traditional circus training and guides youth and adults into becoming performers. Ramona Sentinel, "Lora Kapelczak flies high as an aerial acrobat artist," 29 Aug. 2019 The Spruce awarded this Hunter fan the best overall due to its blend of traditional and contemporary styles and its large, 52-inch-blade size for rooms up to 400 square feet. Paige Szmodis, Popular Mechanics, "The 8 Best Ceiling Fans for Silent Yet Powerful Airflow," 19 Aug. 2019 His subject matter utilizes contemporary and past iconic figures from all walks of life, including politics, popular culture, entertainment and war and peace. Sergio Carmona, sun-sentinel.com, "‘A Legacy to Remember’ art exhibit on display at Holocaust Documentation & Education Center," 15 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That tendency becomes more pronounced, perhaps inevitably, in the later chapters, when more of the talent is still around to discuss their exploits and laud contemporaries. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Country Music' registers on lower scale of Ken Burns documentaries," 15 Sep. 2019 The artist and several contemporaries gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the vehicle’s journey from Baltimore to Bethel, New York, for the original Woodstock festival. Sameer Rao, baltimoresun.com, "Woodstock 50 collapsed. This Baltimore artist and his VW van are keeping the hippie spirit alive.," 12 Aug. 2019 Thirty years later, other children of Lanier’s contemporaries — and even one ex-smuggler himself — also have found legitimate work in a business that once put drug kingpins behind bars. Amy Driscoll And Alex Harris, chicagotribune.com, "These families made a fortune with pot illegally. Now, pot is paying the bills again," 23 July 2019 In Lido Shores, a sandbar neighborhood full of modernistic homes dating to the 1950s, architects have worked to reinvent what contemporary Sarasota homes can look like. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Airy modern masterpiece in Sarasota asks $3.9M," 17 July 2019 Alongside roughly 60 of Renoir's works are paintings by his predecessors, contemporaries and followers. Dan Singer, Dallas News, "Hatred for Renoir's art is reaching all-time levels. Is it really justified?," 28 June 2019 Shakespeare’s contemporaries didn’t share modern audiences’ interest in the identification of authors. Phyllis Rackin, The Atlantic, "The Hidden Women Writers of the Elizabethan Theater," 8 June 2019 Most of them were his contemporaries and former classmates. Tinashe Mushakavanhu, Quartz Africa, "The Zimbabwean writer who was Robert Mugabe’s nemesis," 7 Sep. 2019 This allowed him to swivel horizontally—not as much as Mr Smith, but more than his contemporaries. J.t., The Economist, "Steve Smith’s batting shows that sporting genius can be learned," 17 Aug. 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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Statistics for contemporary

Last Updated

3 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for contemporary

The first known use of contemporary was in 1614

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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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