Definition of contemporary in English:

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Pronunciation: /kənˈtempəˌrerē/


1Living or occurring at the same time: the event was recorded by a contemporary historian
More example sentences
  • But the Church wants to challenge that finding by meeting and debating with leading thinkers on faith and contemporary living.
  • Such a gesture might look to contemporary historians like an act of archival vandalism, but it was entirely characteristic of the old school to which Macmillan belonged.
  • The contemporary experience of living and acting across cultural borders means both the loss of traditional meanings and the creation of new symbolic expressions.
1.1Dating from the same time: this series of paintings is contemporary with other works in an early style
More example sentences
  • The officer's testimony is significant only if the entries can be demonstrated as being contemporary with the dates provided by the diary.
  • The stirrups we found date back to the 14th century and as far as we know, are the only known find on the site which is contemporary with the battle.
  • Yet the earliest dinosaur fossils that best fit into the dino to bird scenario are contemporary with the earliest bird fossils.
of the time, of the day, contemporaneous, concurrent, coeval, coexisting, coexistent
2Belonging to or occurring in the present: the tension and complexities of our contemporary society
More example sentences
  • The subordination of women to men and the prohibition on divorce, both clearly stated in scripture, can at present be modified to adapt the church to contemporary society.
  • Broadly speaking, each of the texts included in this ongoing project speaks in some fashion about contemporary society and the politics through which it is governed.
  • This is what happened in the 1930s and, over a longer time scale, it has happened over recent decades in contemporary society.
informal trendy, with it, du jour, styling/stylin'
2.1Following modern ideas or fashion in style or design: contemporary art
More example sentences
  • The ideas date back at least 3,000 years, yet a growing number of architects and decorators are integrating feng shui ideas with contemporary building design.
  • The marriage room has been designed in a more contemporary style in a brown and cream colour scheme, with art works and flower arrangements.
  • This proposed project will combine ideas taken from contemporary climatic design and traditional Middle Eastern art and architecture.

noun (plural contemporaries)

1A person or thing living or existing at the same time as another: he was a contemporary of Darwin
More example sentences
  • Constance spent nearly five years researching and editing the new collection as well as writing the first biographical study of Isabella, who was a contemporary of William Wordsworth.
  • Harvey chose a female architect - Mary Colter, a contemporary of Frank Lloyd Wright - to lead the building of the Harvey House empire in 1910.
  • A contemporary of Galileo, Descartes, Rembrandt, and Milton, Comenius contributed greatly to the Enlightenment.
peer, fellow
formal compeer
1.1A person of roughly the same age as another: my contemporaries at school
More example sentences
  • Her contemporaries and colleagues say that she is once again back to where she really belongs.
  • He was a renowned dancer and his friends and contemporaries say his skill at Jiving was without equal.
  • I've waited a while for peers and contemporaries to arrive around me.



Pronunciation: /kənˌtempəˈre(ə)rəlē/
Example sentences
  • Marguerite must be secure enough in her technique to approach the role contemporarily, with a little more of a rounded back and modern dancer's flow and line.
  • Key to Avary's vision is a sense of time; he manages to set this very '80s bit of work contemporarily, while still making it all seem very nostalgic.
  • This smooth, contemporarily designed jukebox won several ‘Best of Audio’ awards when it was introduced this year.


Example sentences
  • What I like these days about visiting Berlin is the creative tension between the old run down corners and the contemporariness in art, streetlife, architecture.
  • The contemporariness of the themes and ideas, which Hugo tried to strongly convey through his works, is striking.
  • The contemporariness of the sculpture is the success of the park.


Mid 17th century: from medieval Latin contemporarius, from con- 'together with' + tempus, tempor- 'time' (on the pattern of Latin contemporaneus and late Latin contemporalis).

  • temple from Old English:

    Temple comes from Latin templum ‘open or consecrated space’. The temple which is part of your forehead is a different word, going back to Latin tempus, whose main meaning was ‘time’. Tempus is the source of several words in English, such as contemporary (mid 17th century) ‘of a time with’, grammatical tense (Middle English), and temporary (mid 16th century). Tempo (early 18th century), which came to English from Italian, is now a musical term, but in the 17th century was used in fencing for the timing of an attack. Tempest (Middle English) also goes back to tempus, via Latin tempestas ‘season, weather, storm’.

Words that rhyme with contemporary

extemporary, temporary

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: con·tem·po·rar·y

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