con·​tex·​tu·​al·​ize | \ kən-ˈteks-chə-wə-ˌlīz How to pronounce contextualize (audio) , -chə-ˌlīz, -chü-ə- \
contextualized; contextualizing

Definition of contextualize

transitive verb

: to place (something, such as a word or activity) in a context When the rebellion is historically contextualized, it becomes clear that there were many factors that contributed to it.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from contextualize

contextualization \ kən-​ˌteks-​ch(ə-​w)ə-​lə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce contextualization (audio) , -​chü-​ə-​lə-​ \ noun

Examples of contextualize in a Sentence

When the rebellion is historically contextualized, it becomes clear that there were many factors contributing to it.
Recent Examples on the Web By studying medieval microbial communities, scientists can track changes in diet and digestion over time and better contextualize the health of modern microbiomes. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, "Archaeologists Mine Medieval Toilets for Traces of Gut Microbiomes," 8 Oct. 2020 The new Chicago Bears starting quarterback is open to introspection, willing to contextualize his eventful career journey and often alludes to scripture as inspiration. Dan Wiederer,, "The Nick Foles era begins Sunday with hopes his confidence and composure — and ‘fearless’ demeanor — can fuel a memorable run for the Chicago Bears," 3 Oct. 2020 Black Music Reframed, by uDiscover, focussed on letting Black writers contextualize Black music—which is to say, American music. Sheldon Pearce, The New Yorker, "The Futility of Rolling Stone’s Best-Albums List," 2 Oct. 2020 The videos are a great way to really contextualize the size of this monster; from the metal fingertip to where the wrist will connect, for example, the hand is about 6.5 feet wide. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Japan's 60-Foot-Tall Gundam Robot Is Now Walking and Wreaking Havoc," 22 Sep. 2020 Teachers, too, have found the need to create special curricula to talk about 9/11 and contextualize and correct anti-Muslim sentiment. Elly Belle,, "Yes, 9/11 Did Cause An Increase In Islamophobia," 11 Sep. 2020 The Republican leaders said they were perturbed by the initial report’s suggestion to remove or contextualize federal monuments — even though these structures are no longer included in Bowser’s committee’s recommendations. Washington Post, "Bowser: D.C. had no intention of proposing removal of major federal monuments," 4 Sep. 2020 Failure and iteration are critical to scientific inquiry, but often harder for the public—and funds-allocating government bodies—to contextualize. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "China Now Has Its Own Secret Reusable Spaceplane," 7 Sep. 2020 The major networks, NPR, PBS, and the left-wing cable outlets such as CNN and MSNBC stick to the script; sanitize or ignore the fires, violence, and looting, and contextualize the rebellion as righteous, justified anger at the criminal police. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Silence About the Violence," 1 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contextualize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of contextualize

1934, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for contextualize

contextual + -ize

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about contextualize

Time Traveler for contextualize

Time Traveler

The first known use of contextualize was in 1934

See more words from the same year

Statistics for contextualize

Last Updated

11 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Contextualize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for contextualize


How to pronounce contextualize (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of contextualize

formal : to think about or provide information about the situation in which something happens

Comments on contextualize

What made you want to look up contextualize? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!