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

Funny moment today as William and Kate join artist Dario Vargas, a contemporary fine artist from Columbia, who is painting an original piece inspired by the Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince William Makes a Dad Joke About Kate Middleton's Art Skills," 9 Oct. 2018 Meanwhile sleek lines, rich textures, and abstract patterns lean toward contemporary styles like midcentury modern and Scandinavian decor. Lauren Hubbard, ELLE Decor, "The Best Bed Linens for Every Design Style," 18 Sep. 2018 Popkin may be the contemporary Philadelphia writer most steeped in the city itself. John Timpane, Philly.com, "Nathaniel Popkin is a Philly author with a rare double play - two new books at once," 11 July 2018 Armada for 2018 maintains the rugged, athletic image of the previous generation with contemporary style, with the bold V-motion front grille, standard LED low-beam headlights with halogen high beams and LED Daytime Running Lights. Emma Jayne Williams, star-telegram, "Nissan Armada full-size SUV has plentyof room for the family, lots of technology," 17 June 2018 The new owners’ bath is a splash of contemporary style, built by their carpenter, including two sinks and a walk-in European shower. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "Indian Village home with gardens, koi pond is groomed to the gills," 19 May 2018 Such an ornament made of feathers represented the height of contemporary style. Angela Serratore, Smithsonian, "Keeping Feathers Off Hats–And On Birds," 15 May 2018 The Progressive Revolution: Modern Art for a New India Asia Society Museum Through Jan. 20, 2019 The first exhibitions of the group in 1949 displayed their commitment to contemporary Indian society. Michael Fitzgerald, WSJ, "‘The Progressive Revolution: Modern Art for a New India’ Review: A Movement Looks Forward," 20 Sep. 2018 The dancey, body roll-inducing tune is complete with a whimsical-yet-contemporary aesthetic as the members fall into dream-like scenarios. Devon Abelman, Allure, "See K-Pop Group GOT7's Best Hair and Makeup Looks from the New "Lullaby" Music Video," 17 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But his outward charisma hid a darker side, which some contemporaries thought verged on sociopathy. Stephen Benedict Dyson, Washington Post, "Tired of American news? ‘A Very English Scandal’ plunges you into 1970s British social repression and political ambition.," 3 July 2018 Chuck Courtney, a San Diego contemporary who was three years younger, remembered a junior golf trip to Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. Tod Leonard, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Phil Rodgers dies; San Diegan enjoyed golf successes playing, teaching," 26 June 2018 Distance-running contemporaries have criticized Steve's lead-from-the-front style. Andrew Greif, OregonLive.com, "In intimate tour, Steve Prefontaine's sister shares iconic runner's life story, hometown," 25 May 2018 Hair Live! is based on the late '60s off-Broadway and Broadway hit and is a rock musical contemporary of NBC's recent, critically acclaimed Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "NBC taps inner hippie with 'Hair Live!' as next musical, set for spring," 24 May 2018 Here are six of Picasso's female contemporaries who also shaped the modern art scene. National Geographic, "Beyond Picasso: 6 Female Artists Who Turned Modern Art On Its Head," 19 Apr. 2018 It was filled with artwork and furniture by Balthus, Atlan, César, and Hiquily, combined with cutting-edge contemporary as well as neoclassical design. David Netto, Town & Country, "The Enduring Legacy of French Interior Designer Henri Samuel," 15 Mar. 2018 Like many contemporaries, Freake, a wealthy Bostonian, maintained a privileged way of life with slave labor. Graham Ambrose, BostonGlobe.com, "At Worcester Art Museum, taking note of slavery’s shadow," 19 June 2018 Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East adviser, Jared Kushner, 37, has grown especially close to Prince Mohammed, a near-contemporary in age. David D. Kirkpatrick, The Seattle Times, "Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance: What we know and don’t know," 15 Oct. 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

12 Dec 2018

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 \

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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