Synonyms & Antonyms of contemporary

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 existing or occurring at the same period of time
  • the absurd notion that early cave dwellers were contemporary with the dinosaurs

Synonyms for contemporary

Words Related to contemporary

Antonyms for contemporary



Synonyms of contemporary (Entry 2 of 2)

a person who lives at the same time or is about the same age as another
  • Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were exact contemporaries, actually being born on the same day in 1809

Synonyms for contemporary

Words Related to contemporary

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Frequently Asked Questions About contemporary

How does the adjective contemporary differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of contemporary are coeval, coincident, contemporaneous, simultaneous, and synchronous. While all these words mean "existing or occurring at the same time," contemporary is likely to apply to people and what relates to them.

Abraham Lincoln was contemporary with Charles Darwin

When is coeval a more appropriate choice than contemporary?

In some situations, the words coeval and contemporary are roughly equivalent. However, coeval refers usually to periods, ages, eras, eons.

two stars thought to be coeval

When could coincident be used to replace contemporary?

The words coincident and contemporary can be used in similar contexts, but coincident is applied to events and may be used in order to avoid implication of causal relationship.

the end of World War II was coincident with a great vintage year

In what contexts can contemporaneous take the place of contemporary?

While the synonyms contemporaneous and contemporary are close in meaning, contemporaneous is more often applied to events than to people.

contemporaneous accounts of the kidnapping

When is it sensible to use simultaneous instead of contemporary?

The meanings of simultaneous and contemporary largely overlap; however, simultaneous implies correspondence in a moment of time.

the two shots were simultaneous

Where would synchronous be a reasonable alternative to contemporary?

The synonyms synchronous and contemporary are sometimes interchangeable, but synchronous implies exact correspondence in time and especially in periodic intervals.

synchronous timepieces

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Time Traveler for contemporary

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The first known use of contemporary was in 1614

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Cite this Entry

“Contemporary.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on contemporary

Nglish: Translation of contemporary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of contemporary for Arabic Speakers


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