- existing, occurring, or living at the same time; belonging to the same time: Newton's discovery of the calculus was contemporary with that of Leibniz.
- of about the same age or date: a Georgian table with a contemporary wig stand.
- of the present time; modern: a lecture on the contemporary novel.
- a person belonging to the same time or period with another or others.
- a person of the same age as another.
Origin of contemporary
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. coexistent, concurrent, simultaneous.
1. Contemporary, contemporaneous, coeval, coincident all mean happening or existing at the same time. Contemporary often refers to persons or their acts or achievements: Hemingway and Fitzgerald, though contemporary, shared few values. Contemporaneous is applied chiefly to events: the rise of industrialism, contemporaneous with the spread of steam power. Coeval refers either to very long periods of time—an era or an eon—or to remote or long ago times: coeval stars, shining for millenia with equal brilliance; coeval with the dawning of civilization. Coincident means occurring at the same time but without causal or other relationships: prohibition, coincident with the beginning of the 1920s.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for contemporaries
What sets him apart from so many of his contemporaries was his rare immunity from the influence of prevailing ideas.The Catholic Philosopher Who Took on Hitler
John Henry Crosby
December 26, 2014
Some of the authors most revered by their contemporaries now languish in relative obscurity.The Birth of the Novel
November 27, 2014
Cummings, however, has proven far more controversial and arguably less palatable than her contemporaries.Why Whitney Cummings’ Dick Jokes Are Important
June 25, 2014
In all likelihood, he was—like his disciples and contemporaries—dark-haired, dark-eyed, and olive-skinned.Yes, Megyn Kelly, Santa Can Be Black (and Jesus, Too)
December 12, 2013
DS: Your work has a religious quality to it that marks it as very different from a host of good work by your contemporaries.The American Prophet of Delusion: Robert Stone in Conversation
November 15, 2013
As Lizzie put it, Sarah's appearance was an outrage on her contemporaries.Life and Death of Harriett Frean
But Gaspare's fate had been easier than that of most of his contemporaries and friends of Marechiaro.A Spirit in Prison
He is the true countryman of his contemporaries Goethe and Schiller.Sophist
But in truth he is trying to get rid of the stumbling-blocks of thought which beset his contemporaries.Parmenides
The irony of Socrates places him above and beyond the errors of his contemporaries.Cratylus
- belonging to the same age; living or occurring in the same period of time
- existing or occurring at the present time
- conforming to modern or current ideas in style, fashion, design, etc
- having approximately the same age as one another
- a person living at the same time or of approximately the same age as another
- something that is contemporary
- journalism a rival newspaper
C17: from Medieval Latin contemporārius, from Latin com- together + temporārius relating to time, from tempus time
Since contemporary can mean either of the same period or of the present period, it is best to avoid this word where ambiguity might arise, as in a production of Othello in contemporary dress. Modern dress or Elizabethan dress should be used in this example to avoid ambiguity
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
Word Origin and History for contemporaries
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper