Synonyms of contingency

1 something that might happen
  • agencies trying to provide for every contingency in a national emergency

Synonyms for contingency

Words Related to contingency

2 something upon which the carrying out of an agreement or offer depends
  • an offer to buy the house, with the contingency that it pass inspection

Synonyms for contingency

Words Related to contingency

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About contingency

How does the noun contingency differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of contingency are crisis, emergency, exigency, juncture, pinch, straits, and strait. While all these words mean "a critical or crucial time or state of affairs," contingency implies an emergency or exigency that is regarded as possible but uncertain of occurrence.

contingency plans

In what contexts can crisis take the place of contingency?

The meanings of crisis and contingency largely overlap; however, crisis applies to a juncture whose outcome will make a decisive difference.

a crisis of confidence

When is emergency a more appropriate choice than contingency?

While in some cases nearly identical to contingency, emergency applies to a sudden unforeseen situation requiring prompt action to avoid disaster.

the presence of mind needed to deal with emergencies

When might exigency be a better fit than contingency?

The synonyms exigency and contingency are sometimes interchangeable, but exigency stresses the pressure of restrictions or urgency of demands created by a special situation.

provide for exigencies

When could juncture be used to replace contingency?

The words juncture and contingency can be used in similar contexts, but juncture stresses the significant concurrence or convergence of events.

an important juncture in our country's history

How does the word pinch relate to other synonyms for contingency?

Pinch implies urgency or pressure for action to a less intense degree than exigency or emergency.

come through in a pinch

How are the words strait and straits related as synonyms of contingency?

Strait, now commonly straits, applies to a troublesome situation from which escape is extremely difficult.

in dire straits

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about contingency

Time Traveler for contingency

Time Traveler

The first known use of contingency was in 1561

See more words from the same year

Cite this Entry

“Contingency.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on contingency

Dictionary: Definition of contingency

Spanish Central: Translation of contingency

Nglish: Translation of contingency for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of contingency for Arabic Speakers

Comments on contingency

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!