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 Compared to the previous 30-year period, the average temperature of the contiguous United States rose from 52.8 degrees Fahrenheit to 53.3 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about one degree warmer than the pre-industrial average. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 June 2021 The firm expects to offer landowners in all 48 contiguous states the ability to sell offsets by autumn. Ryan Dezember, WSJ, 26 May 2021 For example, a family of two that meets the poverty threshold - $23,517 in the 48 contiguous states, D.C. and territories - can apply. Anchorage Daily News, 16 May 2021 Craft Beverage Warehouse was founded primarily to support local beverage companies but has found its market to be the entire contiguous 48 states and Alaska, Stephens said. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11 May 2021 The 30-year average temperature for the 48 contiguous states climbed to a record high of 53.28 degrees in the most recent 30 years, Palecki confirmed in an email. Author: Bob Henson, Jason Samenow, Anchorage Daily News, 4 May 2021 Since 1901-1930, the first period for which climate normals were calculated, the contiguous United States has warmed 1.7 degrees., 4 May 2021 By 1963 the number of nesting pairs of bald eagles had dropped to a low of 417 in the contiguous 48 states. Susan Cosier, Scientific American, 30 Apr. 2021 Bald eagle populations in the contiguous United States have quadrupled since 2009, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report. Lindsey Mcginnis, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 Apr. 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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Statistics for contiguous

Last Updated

5 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Contiguous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 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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