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 For the second day in a row, Antero Reservoir in Park County recorded the lowest temperature in the contiguous United States – dropping down to -48 degrees Fahrenheit. Blair Miller, The Denver Post, "Antero Reservoir records coldest temperature in the contiguous U.S. two days in a row," 31 Dec. 2019 The best locations in the contiguous United States to see a white Christmas include most of Idaho, Minnesota, Maine, Upstate New York, where chances increase to over 80 percent. Fox News, "White Christmas in the forecast? Here's what history and forecasters say are the chances," 18 Dec. 2019 At that pace, the longest contiguous walk would take him another 13 years, with a lot of downtime each day and requiring 4,800 places to crash. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "This Is the Longest Walkable Distance on Earth," 19 Dec. 2019 The population census focused on two areas where mountain gorillas, a subspecies of eastern gorilla, make their home: the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda and the contiguous Sarambwe Nature Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Endangered Mountain Gorilla Populations Are Growing," 18 Dec. 2019 Preserving those forests would be the equivalent of halting eight years worth of carbon dioxide emissions in the western contiguous United States, according to the study. oregonlive, "Preserving western forests is crucial in fight against climate change, OSU researchers find," 10 Dec. 2019 But the pull of difference was matched with a sense, at least as strong, that the border didn’t so much divide two nations as amble over a contiguous region. Joshua Jelly-schapiro, The New Yorker, "What Are Borders For?," 27 Nov. 2019 The Museum Hotel would be built on seven contiguous lots owned by the Laguna Beach Co. Lilly Nguyen, Daily Pilot, "Laguna Beach planners recommend changes to proposed Museum Hotel following residents’ backlash," 17 Oct. 2019 Santa Monica, which reported 905 homeless residents in last year’s point-in-time count, prohibits people from obstructing sidewalks in ways that leave pedestrians with less than four feet of contiguous passage., "Are suburbs pushing homeless people into L.A.? Debate rages as numbers spike," 13 June 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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Statistics for contiguous

Last Updated

20 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Contiguous.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 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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Comments on contiguous

What made you want to look up contiguous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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