con·​tig·​u·​ous kən-ˈti-gyə-wəs How to pronounce contiguous (audio)
: being in actual contact : touching along a boundary or at a point
the 48 contiguous states
of angles : adjacent sense 2
: next or near in time or sequence
The fires were contiguous with the earthquake.
: touching or connected throughout in an unbroken sequence
contiguous row houses
contiguous vineyards
contiguously adverb
contiguousness noun

Did you know?

Time to get a little closer with contiguous, a word likely most familiar in the phrase "contiguous United States." Otherwise known as the conterminous United States, this region comprises the collective states within the U.S. that connect geographically by shared borders, as well as the nation's capital. Looking for a word to describe freestanding states like Hawaii and Alaska, or seabound territories along the lines of Guam and American Samoa? Today’s word has a direct antonym: noncontiguous. Both come from the Latin verb contingere, meaning "to be in contact with."

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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web All contiguous states will see portions of the eclipse Most Americans will be able to see a portion of the eclipse. Ramon Padilla, USA TODAY, 25 Feb. 2024 The next total solar eclipse won't be visible from the contiguous U.S. until 2044, according to NASA. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, 25 Feb. 2024 And Israeli settlements had grown to the extent that creating a viable, contiguous Palestinian state had become almost impossible. Marc Lynch, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 For $68 million, a secluded enclave called Sandpiper Village comprises four contiguous estates and 1,000 feet of ocean frontage. Emma Reynolds, Robb Report, 15 Feb. 2024 The properties, though not all contiguous, extend in a band two to five city blocks wide that runs roughly from just west of Interstate 95 to Northeast Second Avenue. Andres Viglucci, Miami Herald, 11 Feb. 2024 The prevalent view among the Palestinians and Israel’s allies in the West is that the settlements are a major obstacle to peace, making a contiguous, whole Palestinian state in the West Bank impossible. Abbas Al Lawati, CNN, 2 Feb. 2024 The court ruled 4-3 in favor of Democrats who argued that the legislative maps are unconstitutional because districts drawn aren't contiguous. CBS News, 22 Dec. 2023 The next total solar eclipse to occur in the contiguous U.S. is on August 23, 2044. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'contiguous.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

circa 1609, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of contiguous was circa 1609


Dictionary Entries Near contiguous

Cite this Entry

“Contiguous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


con·​tig·​u·​ous kən-ˈtig-yə-wəs How to pronounce contiguous (audio)
: being in contact : adjoining
: very near though not in contact
: touching or connected in an unbroken series
the 48 contiguous states of the U.S.
contiguously adverb

Medical Definition


con·​tig·​u·​ous kən-ˈtig-yə-wəs How to pronounce contiguous (audio)
: being in actual contact : touching along a boundary or at a point
contiguity noun
plural contiguities
contiguously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on contiguous

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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