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

By incorporating natural oils and honoring ancestral traditions, Swenson’s beauty ritual seamlessly interweaves the contemporary with the ancient. Dianca London Potts, SELF, "8 Modern Witches Share Their Daily Beauty Rituals," 11 Apr. 2019 The stories, centered on wayward men and women in Montana, infuse the traditional representation of the American West with a sense of longing and loneliness that feels wholly contemporary. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: A Year in the Life of a Short Story," 28 Dec. 2018 And with a government in the undefined near future embracing nationalistic policies and suppressing its citizens’ language, the novel feels disturbingly contemporary. Constance Grady, Vox, "We read all 25 National Book Award finalists for 2018. Here’s what we thought.," 15 Nov. 2018 Not only in a classic way, but more in a contemporary way. Kristen Bateman, Glamour, "How Alexandre Vauthier Became the Couture Go-to for Your Favorite Celebs," 9 July 2018 For example, if your style is contemporary, Target ‘s neutral-hued Project 62 abstract outdoor rugs, lumbar pillows, club chairs and string lights would blend nicely. Kim Cook, The Seattle Times, "A small but social spot: Trends in front-porch decorating," 26 Mar. 2019 While many might consider Shaker-style cabinets to be traditional in style, the clean lines and simplicity of the design can skew contemporary or modern, especially when paired with the right hardware. Jessica Dailey, Good Housekeeping, "Doors and Drawers," 11 Feb. 2019 Brought up in both a traditional and contemporary way of life, Eben takes part in the community spring and fall food gathering, including whaling hunts alongside his community. Maka Monture, Teen Vogue, "The Arctic Youth Ambassadors Program Is Bringing Awareness to Environmental and Community Issues in Alaska," 24 Sep. 2018 My dream is to open my own indigenous dance company and tell Native stories through contemporary and classical dance. Lindsay Schallon, Glamour, "This Is What the Beauty of Cultural Appreciation Looks Like," 13 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Now on the fringe of adulthood and with two albums under its belt, Mourn is starting to adroitly settle in next to its punk contemporaries. 8 p.m. $12-$14. Efrain Dorado, RedEye Chicago, "5 must-see Chicago concerts this week: of Montreal, Mourn, Jay Som," 4 Sep. 2017 Yet while she was widely resented for commanding more attention and better equipment than male contemporaries with comparable records, Patrick was simultaneously and deservedly celebrated for a pioneering place in her sport. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Despite an abrupt Indy 500 exit, Danica Patrick's legacy is cemented," 27 May 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

18 Apr 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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