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[kuh n-tem-pluh-tiv, kon-tuh m-pley-, -tem-] /kənˈtɛm plə tɪv, ˈkɒn təmˌpleɪ-, -tɛm-/
given to or characterized by contemplation:
a contemplative mind.
a person devoted to contemplation, as a monk.
Origin of contemplative
1300-50; < Latin contemplātīvus, equivalent to contemplāt(us) (see contemplate) + -īvus -ive; replacing Middle English contemplatif < Anglo-French < Latin, as above
Related forms
contemplatively, adverb
contemplativeness, noun
noncontemplative, adjective
noncontemplatively, adverb
noncontemplativeness, noun
uncontemplative, adjective
uncontemplatively, adverb
uncontemplativeness, noun
1. thoughtful, reflective, meditative. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for contemplative
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The contemplative mind, attempting its return to divinity, is constantly dragged back toward the senses by the life currents.

    Autobiography of a YOGI Paramhansa Yogananda
  • We have more Sisters of Charity than contemplative nuns, at this time.

    The Hour and the Man Harriet Martineau
  • He was not the contemplative thinker, living retired from human society.

    Modern Skepticism C. J. Ellicott
  • She went over to the music-stand and fingered them in a contemplative way.

    Peter and Jane S. (Sarah) Macnaughtan
  • It is not wise to be too contemplative, and to stay at home, on a carnival day in Cuba.

British Dictionary definitions for contemplative


/ˈkɒntɛmˌpleɪtɪv; -təm-; kənˈtɛmplə-/
denoting, concerned with, or inclined to contemplation; meditative
a person dedicated to religious contemplation or to a way of life conducive to this
Derived Forms
contemplatively, adverb
contemplativeness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for contemplative

mid-14c., from Old French contemplatif (12c.), from Latin contemplativus, from contemplat-, past participle stem of contemplari (see contemplation).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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