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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for contemplatively
Historical Examples
  • But she only broke off a leaf and nibbled at it contemplatively.

    The Vagrant Duke George Gibbs
  • To the picture in question she had been always, in fact, able contemplatively to return.

    The Golden Bowl Henry James
  • He looked at her contemplatively; the dark eyes pleased him.

    The Dull Miss Archinard Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • He turned and regarded her contemplatively; and she spoke again.

    The Princess Dehra John Reed Scott
  • “Many a man has begun on less,” continued Reid, contemplatively.

    A Country Sweetheart Dora Russell
  • She contemplatively patted a bow of ribbon on her morning dress.

    Friendship and Folly Maria Louise Pool
  • "It was certainly a case of very silent emotion," she said contemplatively.

    The Wishing-Ring Man Margaret Widdemer
  • "I'll be pretty comfortable here, I imagine," he says, contemplatively.

    Miss Dividends Archibald Clavering Gunter
  • Then, contemplatively: "You raise a moustache, Bok, and I'll raise your salary."

  • Mrs. Ansell contemplatively turned the rings upon her fingers.

    The Fruit of the Tree Edith Wharton
British Dictionary definitions for contemplatively


/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 contemplatively



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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