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[kuh n-tin-juh n-see] /kənˈtɪn dʒən si/
noun, plural contingencies.
dependence on chance or on the fulfillment of a condition; uncertainty; fortuitousness:
Nothing was left to contingency.
a contingent event; a chance, accident, or possibility conditional on something uncertain:
He was prepared for every contingency.
something incidental to a thing.
Origin of contingency
First recorded in 1555-65; conting(ent) + -ency
2. emergency, likelihood, predicament. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for contingencies
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The canny natives had kept an internal corner for contingencies, and polished the kid's very bones.

  • "It is rather a mixed-up mess," said I, perplexed by the contingencies and the repetitions.

    Seek and Find Oliver Optic
  • He saw in history only an accumulation of contingencies subject to no law.

  • So much for the contingencies of the future as those in the secret foresaw it.

    Sundry Accounts Irvin S. Cobb
  • Still he endeavoured to overcome any gloomy anticipations about the future, and endeavoured to be prepared for all contingencies.

    Owen Hartley; or, Ups and Downs William H. G. Kingston
British Dictionary definitions for contingencies


noun (pl) -cies
  1. a possible but not very likely future event or condition; eventuality
  2. (as modifier): a contingency plan
something dependent on a possible future event
a fact, event, etc, incidental to or dependent on something else
(in systemic grammar)
  1. modification of the meaning of a main clause by use of a bound clause introduced by a binder such as if, when, though, or since Compare adding (sense 3)
  2. (as modifier): a contingency clause
  1. the state of being contingent
  2. a contingent statement
dependence on chance; uncertainty
  1. the degree of association between theoretical and observed common frequencies of two graded or classified variables. It is measured by the chi-square test
  2. (as modifier): a contingency table, the contingency coefficient
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 contingencies

"unexpected additional expenses," 1660s, from contingency.



1560s, "quality of being contingent," from contingent + -cy. Meaning "a chance occurrence" is from 1610s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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