contingency

noun
con·​tin·​gen·​cy | \ kən-ˈtin-jən(t)-sē How to pronounce contingency (audio) \
plural contingencies

Definition of contingency

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

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of contingency in a Sentence

Nothing was overlooked. There was a fallback position, a fail-safe provision, for any contingency. — Gary Wills, New York Times Review of Books, 1 Apr. 2001 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. Will, Newsweek, 2 Mar. 1987 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 Wharton, The House of Mirth, 1905 In making our business plans, we tried to prepare for any contingency that might hurt sales. agencies trying to provide for every contingency in a national emergency
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Recent Examples on the Web Despite billions of dollars in federal money at their disposal to prepare for new outbreaks and develop contingency plans, some governors, education departments and local school boards have been caught flat-footed. Arkansas Online, 17 Sep. 2021 Despite billions of dollars in federal money at their disposal to prepare for new outbreaks and develop contingency plans, some governors, education departments and local school boards have been caught flat-footed. Bryan Anderson And Heather Hollingsworth, Anchorage Daily News, 16 Sep. 2021 Enter the contingency plans and out-of-the-box strategies. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, 11 Sep. 2021 Lessons learned during the 2011 player lockout also came in handy, including the need for all sorts of contingency plans. Karen Kaplan Science And Medicine Editor, Los Angeles Times, 10 Sep. 2021 In fact, finance companies are required to have contingency plans so that even if their headquarters were to be destroyed, the business could still run. Megan Leonhardt, Fortune, 8 Sep. 2021 This year, retailers are pulling together contingency plans, finding local and regional alternatives to national carriers and, in some cases, building up their own delivery capabilities. Dallas News, 6 Sep. 2021 While some cannabis businesses were prepared with contingency plans in the event of an emergency, many were not. NBC News, 29 Aug. 2021 The state’s ambulance service is making contingency plans to draft in police and firefighters to drive ambulances to help deal with increasing patient numbers, Brad Hazzard, the state’s health minister, said at a news conference Saturday. BostonGlobe.com, 4 Sep. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of contingency

1561, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for contingency

conting(ence) + -ency

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Learn More About contingency

Time Traveler for contingency

Time Traveler

The first known use of contingency was in 1561

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Dictionary Entries Near contingency

contingence

contingency

contingency coefficient

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Statistics for contingency

Last Updated

20 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Contingency.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/contingency. Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for contingency

contingency

noun

English Language Learners Definition of contingency

: something (such as an emergency) that might happen

contingency

noun
con·​tin·​gen·​cy | \ kən-ˈtin-jən-sē How to pronounce contingency (audio) \
plural contingencies

Legal Definition of contingency

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

More from Merriam-Webster on contingency

Nglish: Translation of contingency for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of contingency for Arabic Speakers

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