con·​tig·​u·​ous | \kən-ˈti-gyə-wəs, -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

In the new Paramount Network series ‘‘Yellowstone,’’ the Dutton family owns the largest contiguous ranch in the United States, a swath of Montana wild that’s comparable in size to Rhode Island. Scott Tobias,, "How TV has brought the western into the 21st century," 5 July 2018 Lynching occurred in all but four states in the contiguous United States, and less than 1 percent of the perpetrators were brought to justice, historians say. Erin B. Logan, Washington Post, "Why Congress failed nearly 200 times to make lynching a federal crime," 5 July 2018 The developer is asking the city to recognize both properties as one contiguous parcel, although the land is separated by Southeast 17th Street. Meryl Kornfield,, "Developer revises Pier 66 proposal, as city readies vote," 10 July 2018 The commission sought to make districts as compact and contiguous as possible, while also paying attention to racial communities. Alice Li, Washington Post, "How does your state handle congressional redistricting?," 13 June 2018 The lowest average price recorded in the contiguous 48 states was $2.44 a gallon in Charleston, S.C.., "China takes steps to bolster economy," 24 June 2018 And any analysis of prices for park-facing units comes with a caveat: Developers are more likely to put the largest apartments where the best views are, and there’s also a premium for more contiguous space. Kim Velsey, New York Times, "In New York, a View of Even a Small Park Adds Value," 16 Feb. 2018 There's a swath of central Asia bigger than the contiguous United States that's endorheic, stretching from Turkey all the way to eastern Mongolia. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Aral Sea Is Refilling for the First Time in Decades," 25 June 2018 Nineteen of them are now stationed close to the geographic center of the contiguous United States, in the desolate farmland of central Missouri, at Whiteman Air Force Base. William Langewiesche, The Atlantic, "An Extraordinarily Expensive Way to Fight ISIS," 21 June 2018

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, from contingere to have contact with — more at contingent

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Last Updated

27 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for contiguous

The first known use of contiguous was circa 1609

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More Definitions for contiguous



English Language Learners Definition of contiguous

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


con·​tig·​u·​ous | \kən-ˈtig-yə-wəs \

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 \ noun plural -ities
contiguously adverb

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