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 The unpaved four-wheel-drive road cuts a solitary path through the backcountry of the park, the largest in the contiguous United States. Washington Post, "A note helped rescuers find two missing campers in Death Valley. For one of them, it was too late.," 14 Apr. 2021 The Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday released its first assessment in almost a decade about the status of grizzly bears in the contiguous U.S. states. Matthew Brown, Anchorage Daily News, "Grizzly bears slowly expand their territory in the northern U.S. Rocky Mountains, scientists say," 31 Mar. 2021 Likewise, Dallas Love Field saw its worst year since 2006, a statistic muddled by the fact that carriers at that airport could only fly to states contiguous to Texas until 2014. Dallas News, "2020 was the worst year for DFW Airport travel since Ronald Reagan was president," 11 Feb. 2021 New York requires a 14-day quarantine for those who leave the state for more than 24 hours and are returning from states and territories that are not contiguous with New York or from certain high-risk countries. New York Times, "Traveling? Be Prepared to Quarantine," 5 Dec. 2020 Snow’s County Wexford is contiguous with the Dublin of the earlier series, some of whose characters are variously accounted for. Paul Franz, The Atlantic, "How a Great Crime Writer Came to Imitate Himself," 21 Oct. 2020 The property is contiguous with a Mandeville Police Department substation that faces Jefferson Street. Kim Chatelain | Contributing Writer,, "City saving, renovating old Mandeville jail near Lake Pontchartrain," 11 Oct. 2020 The Madison Avenue establishment is interested in transforming three parking meter spots contiguous to LBM’s adjacent three-table Lark Street patio seating area into a parklet that will accommodate a half dozen four-top tables. John Benson, cleveland, "Lakewood City Council declines to pay for restaurant parklet barrier purchase," 21 Aug. 2020 The company also operates 15,115 stores throughout the 48 contiguous U.S. states and Canada. - Investing Reimagined, Forbes, "Top Stocks To Buy In March," 5 Mar. 2021

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

18 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Contiguous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for contiguous



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 contiguous (audio) \ noun, plural contiguities
contiguously adverb

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Comments on contiguous

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