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 Ellen Lupton, the museum’s senior curator of contemporary design and a specialist in graphic design, was inspired by a trove of some 500 pieces of Bayer material that the museum acquired in 2015. Wendy Moonan, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Pioneering Work of Graphic Artist Herbert Bayer," 4 Feb. 2020 Captured live at Carnegie Hall in 1951, with the incomparable Dimitri Mitropoulos conducting, the recording set a new bar for just how far major labels might go in embracing contemporary music. David Mermelstein, WSJ, "‘Eileen Farrell: The Complete Columbia Album Collection’ Review: She Could Sing It All," 3 Feb. 2020 Honeck periodically leads contemporary music, yet there is no obvious pattern to his explorations. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The Pittsburgh Symphony’s Savage Precision," 3 Feb. 2020 There is a single line that leaps out as possibly too contemporary but is actually from Austen's novel. Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Emma': Film Review," 3 Feb. 2020 Their clothing and their gestures reveal contemporary attitudes towards female roles in society. National Geographic, "These lovely little statues enchanted ancient Greece," 29 Jan. 2020 Rolf’s contemporary, psychotherapist Alexander Lowen, believed that fear and anger got stuck in the body if they weren’t expressed, and could lead to depression. Maureen Stanton, Longreads, "Through a Glass, Tearfully," 17 Jan. 2020 His work has run the gamut from Dr. Barbara Sturm’s first US flagship to the holiday store for ’s The Strategist, making him one of the leading designers in the world of contemporary startups. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "SoHo's Coolest New Piercing Studio Gets a High-Design Treatment," 15 Jan. 2020 Another even likened her to the Adele of Christian contemporary music. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Lauren Daigle Shocked Everyone With Her Powerful Rendition of the National Anthem," 14 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This isn't particularly surprising, but illustrates that he wasn't considered to be on the same level as some of his contemporaries. Jesse Yomtov, USA TODAY, "Baseball Hall of Fame: Controversial persona aside, Curt Schilling deserves to be honored," 14 Jan. 2020 Per the Wall Street Journal’s Brenda Cronin, this last piece, sculpted in 1475 and now on view at the D.C. gallery, was one of the first to depict its sitter’s arms and hands—a style quickly copied by the artist’s contemporaries. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "The Man Who Mentored da Vinci Receives First U.S. Retrospective," 13 Sep. 2019 The historical evidence of Shakespeare’s career as an actor and a playwright—including praise of his greatness by his contemporaries—is clear and undeniable. Elizabeth C. Gorski, The New Yorker, "The Mail," 19 Aug. 2019 The artist owned hundreds of paintings by his contemporaries, as well as pieces by masters like El Greco. San Diego Union-Tribune, "New exhibit takes an intimate look at Edgar Degas and his circle," 25 July 2019 Also, Gilman believed in eugenics, as did many of her contemporaries. Curbed Staff, Curbed, "Can utopia ever exist?," 18 July 2019 As Richardson writes, that puts Ryan behind most of his contemporaries in the primary and is another bad sign for Ryan’s White House chances. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland.com, "Sherrod Brown, Rob Portman visit the border: Capitol Letter," 15 July 2019 Unlike many of her contemporaries, Shayk doesn’t have a private Instagram account for Lea because, Who has time for that? Olivia Fleming, Harper's BAZAAR, "Will the Real Irina Shayk Please Stand Up," 11 July 2019 Like his contemporaries in the Civil Rights Movement, Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali, King argued that Black people and the oppressed all over the globe should work together and love one another. Nylah Burton, refinery29.com, "The 2020 Candidates Can’t Sanitise Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Legacy," 20 Jan. 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

7 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Contemporary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/contemporary?utm_campaign=sd&utm_medium=serp&utm_source=jsonld. Accessed 16 Feb. 2020.

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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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