con·​tig·​u·​ous | \ kən-ˈti-gyə-wəs How to pronounce contiguous (audio) , -gyü-əs \

Definition of contiguous

1 : being in actual contact : touching along a boundary or at a point the 48 contiguous states
2 of angles : adjacent sense 2
3 : next or near in time or sequence The fires were contiguous with the earthquake.
4 : touching or connected throughout in an unbroken sequence contiguous row houses contiguous vineyards

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Other Words from contiguous

contiguously adverb
contiguousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for contiguous

adjacent, adjoining, contiguous, juxtaposed mean being in close proximity. adjacent may or may not imply contact but always implies absence of anything of the same kind in between. a house with an adjacent garage adjoining definitely implies meeting and touching at some point or line. had adjoining rooms at the hotel contiguous implies having contact on all or most of one side. offices in all 48 contiguous states juxtaposed means placed side by side especially so as to permit comparison and contrast. a skyscraper juxtaposed to a church

Did You Know?

You probably won't be surprised to learn that the word contact is a relative of contiguous, but would you believe that contagion and contingent are too? All of those words derive from the Latin contingere, meaning "to have contact with." The words contact and contiguous are fairly easy to connect with contingere, but what of the other two? In its early use, contingent was a synonym of "touching," and if you remember that touching something can pollute it (and that another meaning of contingere was "to pollute"), then contagion logically ties in, too.

Examples of contiguous in a Sentence

And in the west, contiguous to Lebanon, was the mountain stronghold of Latakia … — Robert D. Kaplan, Atlantic, February 1993 The Santa Monica Mountains, a sort of foot-note to the big contiguous ranges, stood off to the southwest of us, discrete and small. — John McPhee, New Yorker, 26 Sept. 1988 'I've had my men looking into the land situation … and they think they could get us an additional thirty thousand acres, not all of it contiguous but we might make some trades.' — James A. Michener, Texas, 1985 Connecticut and Massachusetts are contiguous states.
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Recent Examples on the Web Along with the storm, temperatures are warming, with those in much of the contiguous United States climbing near or above average for the next couple of days. NBC News, "Winter storm marches East, creating travel headaches for millions," 23 Jan. 2020 The move angered Palestinians, who say the Israeli settlements are an impediment to peace and make a contiguous Palestinian state practically impossible. Miriam Berger, Washington Post, "Timeline: Trump’s policies toward the Palestinians," 28 Jan. 2020 Here are the ground rules: Book a flight in the contiguous states for travel between January 14, 2020, and May 20, 2020. Madison Flager, Condé Nast Traveler, "Southwest Airlines' One-Day Sale Has Flights as Low as $39," 2 Jan. 2020 Generously sprinkle in some Texans, add a pinch from the contiguous states and teach them how to play winning football. Wally Hall, Arkansas Online, "WALLY HALL: It's up to Yurachek to end football's losing," 5 Dec. 2019 Yosuke Chatmaleerat, 27, a Miami pilot seeking to juice up interest in aviation, has set a Guinness World Record by traveling in a helicopter through all 48 contiguous states in 12 days. Lois K. Solomon,, "South Florida helicopter pilot sets Guinness record: 48 states in 12 days," 19 Nov. 2019 In the United States, only about the eastern third of the contiguous 48 states will be able to witness the entire transit. Mike Lynch, Twin Cities, "A mini solar eclipse, compliments of Mercury," 10 Nov. 2019 The motif points to the varied undertakings here, the staggering diversity of lives coexisting in forty-eight contiguous states. Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, "How Robert Frank’s Photographs Helped Define America," 11 Sep. 2019 The quake was the biggest felt in the 48 contiguous states since the 7.1 quake in Ridgecrest, California, on July 6. Bay Area News Group, The Mercury News, "Biggest quake since Ridgecrest felt hundreds of miles away," 29 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contiguous.' 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 contiguous

circa 1609, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for contiguous

Latin contiguus "adjacent, neighboring" (from contig-, variant stem of contingere "to be in contact with" + -uus, deverbal adjective suffix) + -ous — more at contingent entry 1

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Time Traveler for contiguous

Time Traveler

The first known use of contiguous was circa 1609

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Last Updated

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Contiguous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for contiguous


How to pronounce contiguous (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of contiguous

formal used to describe things that touch each other or are immediately next to each other


con·​tig·​u·​ous | \ kən-ˈtig-yə-wəs How to pronounce contiguous (audio) \

Medical Definition of contiguous

: being in actual contact : touching along a boundary or at a point

Other Words from contiguous

contiguity \ ˌkänt-​ə-​ˈgyü-​ət-​ē How to pronounce contiguity (audio) \ noun, plural contiguities
contiguously adverb

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