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

Writing for contemporary art magazine frieze, Mike Pepi suggests the promotion of AI creativity is essentially propaganda for corporate interests. James Vincent, The Verge, "What algorithmic art can teach us about artificial intelligence," 6 Nov. 2018 For her first-ever partnership with a fashion brand, Koop collaborated with Cuyana on its New Office Collection, a range of pieces that merge the contemporary woman's working wardrobe with her everyday pieces. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Michelle Obama's Stylist Meredith Koop Just Launched Her First Fashion Collaboration," 11 Oct. 2018 The cool color palette of the couple’s furnishings, a mix of midcentury modern and contemporary pieces, keep the space feeling open and calming. Samantha Weiss Hills, Curbed, "A Portland couple trades in a farmhouse for their midcentury dream home," 27 Aug. 2018 Remarkably, DeWitt manages to keep the theme fresh through the power of her style, which is unique in contemporary fiction. Adam Kirsch, The Atlantic, "The Anguished Comedy of Helen DeWitt," 25 June 2018 Besides tastings, attendees can bid in auction on rare wines and contemporary works by Wisconsin artists including Tom Bamberger, Craig Blietz, Beth Lipman, Wence and Sandra Martinez and Fred Stonehouse. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Food and wine - and plenty to see - at Museum of Wisconsin Art fundraiser on July 14," 25 June 2018 Very Good Friend’ Darren Aronofsky at N.Y.C. Event Maroney previously worked at the acclaimed Gagosian Gallery, which exhibits famous contemporary art and has locations in numerous cities including Rome, London and Hong Kong. Mike Miller, PEOPLE.com, "All About Jennifer Lawrence's New Boyfriend Cooke Maroney — Including His Link to Lena Dunham!," 6 June 2018 Set in contemporary America and based in part on real-life events, Gustavo Ott's play, the winner of the 2016 Hispanic Playwriting Competition of Chicago, doesn't have a single protagonist. Jack Helbig, Chicago Reader, "Aguijón's Brutality reveals the banality of violence in contemporary America," 1 June 2018 Elevate Ensemble Works by contemporary women composers Lisa Bielawa, Edie Hill, Tonia Leon, Julie Barwick, Jocelyn Hagen. Chronicle Staff Report, San Francisco Chronicle, "Classical music and dance listings," 31 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The overall style recalls that of one of Friedman’s contemporaries, the late Guy Clark – Circus of Life is imbued with both gravity and grace. Philly.com, "Album reviews: Florence and the Machine, Gorillaz and Kinky Friedman," 5 July 2018 Auden returned to England in the late 1950s, but his influence on his American contemporaries as well as the younger poets of his day, like Mr. Hall, was incalculable. David Kirby, New York Times, "Donald Hall, a Poet Laureate of the Rural Life, Is Dead at 89," 24 June 2018 However, many of Ratajkowski’s contemporaries, including Bella Hadid, have been experimenting with more risqué styles: Remember the jaw-dropping G-string that Kendall wore beneath her naked dress to the Met last year? Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Emily Ratajkowski Celebrates Her Birthday in the Most Glamorous Granny Panties," 8 June 2018 Bitingly political and socially challenging lyrics characterize Kontraband’s 16 tracks, with several of Kabaka’s contemporaries, among reggae’s most vibrant millennial voices, onboard for the musical crusade. Patricia Meschino, Billboard, "Kabaka Pyramid Premieres 'Kontraband' Album, Executive Produced By Stephen and Damian Marley: Exclusive," 24 May 2018 In a January interview with Rolling Stone, Seger, who turned 73 earlier this month, reflected on the loss of rock contemporaries, including Glenn Frey, and the aging process in general. Nardine Saad, latimes.com, "Lena Waithe set for Trailblazer Award at 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards," 21 May 2018 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

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

14 Nov 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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