contingency

noun con·tin·gen·cy \ kən-ˈtin-jən(t)-sē \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of contingency

plural contingencies
1 :a contingent event or condition: such as
a :an event (such as an emergency) that may but is not certain to occur
  • trying to provide for every contingency
b :something liable to happen as an adjunct to or result of something else
  • the contingencies of war
2 :the quality or state of being contingent

Examples of contingency in a Sentence

  1. Nothing was overlooked. There was a fallback position, a fail-safe provision, for any contingency. —Gary WillsNew York Times Review of Books1 Apr. 2001
  2. It is difficult to distinguish all the legitimate and illegitimate kinds and uses of information. Writing laws to regulate all contingencies is like trying to capture broth in a colander. —George F. WillNewsweek2 Mar. 1987
  3. Was it merely the expression of her displeasure at Miss Bart's neglect, or had disquieting rumours reached her? The latter contingency seemed improbable, yet Lily was not without a sense of uneasiness. —Edith WhartonThe House of Mirth1905
  4. In making our business plans, we tried to prepare for any contingency that might hurt sales.

  5. agencies trying to provide for every contingency in a national emergency

Recent Examples of contingency from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contingency.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of contingency

contingency Synonyms

Synonym Discussion of contingency

juncture, exigency, emergency, contingency, pinch, strait (or straits) crisis mean a critical or crucial time or state of affairs. juncture stresses the significant concurrence or convergence of events.
    • an important juncture in our country's history
exigency stresses the pressure of restrictions or urgency of demands created by a special situation.
    • provide for exigencies
emergency applies to a sudden unforeseen situation requiring prompt action to avoid disaster.
    • the presence of mind needed to deal with emergencies
contingency implies an emergency or exigency that is regarded as possible but uncertain of occurrence.
    • contingency plans
pinch implies urgency or pressure for action to a less intense degree than exigency or emergency.
    • come through in a pinch
strait, now commonly straits, applies to a troublesome situation from which escape is extremely difficult.
    • in dire straits
crisis applies to a juncture whose outcome will make a decisive difference.
    • a crisis of confidence


CONTINGENCY Defined for English Language Learners

contingency

noun

Definition of contingency for English Language Learners

  • : something (such as an emergency) that might happen


Law Dictionary

contingency

noun con·tin·gen·cy \ kən-ˈtin-jən-sē \

legal Definition of contingency

plural contingencies
1 :the quality or state of being contingent
2 :a contingent event or condition: as
a :an event that may but is not certain to occur
  • a contingency that made performance under the contract impossible
b :something likely to come about as an adjunct to or result of something else; specifically :contingency fee at fee 2
  • whether a case is on a contingency or billed at an hourly rate
  • —D. R. Frederico


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