con·​tin·​gent | \ kən-ˈtin-jənt How to pronounce contingent (audio) \

Definition of contingent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : dependent on or conditioned by something else Payment is contingent on fulfillment of certain conditions. a plan contingent on the weather
2 : likely but not certain to happen : possible
3 : not logically necessary especially : empirical
4a : happening by chance or unforeseen causes
b : subject to chance or unseen effects : unpredictable
c : intended for use in circumstances not completely foreseen contingent funds
5 : not necessitated : determined by free choice



Definition of contingent (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a representative group : delegation, detachment a diplomatic contingent
2 : something contingent (see contingent entry 1) : contingency

Other Words from contingent


contingently adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for contingent

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for contingent


accidental, fortuitous, casual, contingent mean not amenable to planning or prediction. accidental stresses chance. any resemblance to actual persons is entirely accidental fortuitous so strongly suggests chance that it often connotes entire absence of cause. a series of fortuitous events casual stresses lack of real or apparent premeditation or intent. a casual encounter with a stranger contingent suggests possibility of happening but stresses uncertainty and dependence on other future events for existence or occurrence. the contingent effects of the proposed law

Examples of contingent in a Sentence

Adjective The isolation and co-optation of the capitalist classes in Germany meant that liberty as an ideal had no contingent link with capitalism, as had happened in Western Europe. — Orlando Patterson, New Republic, 8 Nov. 1999 He knows that the throngs cheering for him today will be cheering for someone else tomorrow, that enthusiasm is fickle, that real support for someone like him always has something completely contingent about it. — Andrew Sullivan, New Republic, 8 July 1996 Clearly the President was chastened by the sorrow and resentment of the people to whom he spoke, but his words were somehow tentative and contingent, as if they could be withdrawn on a month's notice. — Lewis H. Lapham, Harper's, July 1992 Every undogmatic historian is aware of the multitude of contingent events that entered into the victory of the Bolshevik revolution. — Sidney Hook, Revolution, Reform & Social Justice, 1975 If the Sovereigns would grant him, contingent on his success, such rank, titles, and property that he and his issue could hold up their heads with the Spanish nobility, well and good … — Samuel Eliot Morison, The European Discovery of America, 1974 Noun Hollywood, Madison Avenue, the FCC, and a growing contingent in corporate America: It's hard to imagine a more formidable alliance pushing segregated television. — Tamar Jacoby, New Republic, 24 Jan. 2000 A Maori contingent, unable to face the intensity of the Turkish fire, sought shelter in a nearby gully. — Martin Gilbert, The First World War, 1994 But just because we banned it [DDT] domestically, under pressure from the bird-watching contingent … it doesn't necessarily follow that the rest of the world was about to jump on the bandwagon. — T. Coraghessan Boyle, Harper's, April 1993 The group that makes up the largest contingent of voters in this area is the elderly. A contingent of reporters waited in front of the court for the defendant to appear. A British contingent was sent to assist the security forces. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective And the second was Terry O’Neill, Dunaway’s then boyfriend and later husband, on whose producing credit her participation was contingent. Callahan Tormey, Town & Country, 8 May 2022 Dayan denied that Abramovich’s contribution was contingent on the letter. Washington Post, 5 May 2022 The separation is set to take place on July 1 and is contingent on the approval of Alabama State Superintendent Eric Mackey. al, 5 May 2022 People familiar with the talent deals related to the streaming service said many of the anchors who came aboard did so as part of deals that related to them doing work for all of CNN, not pacts that were contingent only on having a program on CNN+. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 5 May 2022 Some of the future individual and corporate income tax rate cuts, enacted in the special session, are contingent on the state not tapping into its $1.2 billion catastrophic reserve fund. Michael R. Wickline, Arkansas Online, 1 May 2022 For every industry, from mining and construction to manufacturing and online retail, centrally managing external workers like contingent labor and independent contractors is becoming core to business growth. Susan Galer, Forbes, 6 Apr. 2021 The transaction is now contingent on a majority of Twitter investors. NBC News, 26 Apr. 2022 This protection, however, is contingent on the mask being multi-layered and fitting properly across the nose and face. Laura Fisher,, 25 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And a large contingent of Russia’s invasion force crossed into Ukraine from Belarus. Washington Post, 4 May 2022 The usual large contingent of Rosgvardia forces, after being mauled in Ukraine, are absent. Craig Hooper, Forbes, 2 May 2022 As part of a 1992 cease-fire agreement, a permanent contingent of Russian troops stayed in Transnistria as peacekeepers and to guard ammunition depots. NBC News, 29 Apr. 2022 Only 15 miles or so from Donetsk, Avdiivka has since been a frontline garrison city, with a contingent of Ukrainian forces dug into trenches built around the ruins of country homes and an old tire factory. New York Times, 20 Apr. 2022 Moscow appeared content to keep Chernihiv in check, its defenders tied down, while a major contingent of Russian forces advanced toward Kyiv, 50 miles to the south. Los Angeles Times, 12 Apr. 2022 With their highest-ever seeding and a large contingent of fans at the Moda Center, the Boise State Broncos were well-positioned to earn the first NCAA Tournament victory in men’s program history. oregonlive, 17 Mar. 2022 Angered by ongoing disruptions at New Britain High School, dozens of teachers held a brief protest Thursday morning and a contingent of the school board wants to consider buying out the remainder of Superintendent Nancy Sarra’s contract. Don Stacom,, 17 Feb. 2022 The Pentagon also ordered Saturday that a contingent of about 160 members of the Florida Army National Guard training in western Ukraine leave the country. Meredith Deliso, ABC News, 12 Feb. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of contingent


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1548, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for contingent


Middle English, borrowed from Middle French & Medieval Latin; Middle French, borrowed from Medieval Latin contingent-, contingens "dependent on circumstances, occurring by chance," going back to Latin, present participle of contingere "to be in contact with, arrive at, affect, fall to one's lot, come about, happen," from con- con- + tangere "to touch, border on, arrive at, reach" — more at tangent entry 2


(sense 1) borrowed from French, "portion that falls to one as a return, part given or received in a common effort, body of troops contributed by an ally," noun derivative of contingent, adjective, "falling to someone as a share, dependent, contingent entry 1"; (sense 2) noun derivative of contingent entry 1

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Time Traveler for contingent

Time Traveler

The first known use of contingent was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near contingent

contingency table


contingent fund

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Statistics for contingent

Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Contingent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for contingent


con·​tin·​gent | \ kən-ˈtin-jənt How to pronounce contingent (audio) \

Kids Definition of contingent

: depending on something else that may or may not exist or occur Our trip is contingent on whether we can get tickets.


con·​tin·​gent | \ kən-ˈtin-jənt How to pronounce contingent (audio) \

Legal Definition of contingent

1 : likely but not certain to happen — compare executory
2 : intended for use in circumstances not completely foreseen a contingent fund
3 : dependent on or conditioned by something else a contingent claim a legacy contingent on the marriage — compare vested

More from Merriam-Webster on contingent

Nglish: Translation of contingent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of contingent for Arabic Speakers


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