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[kuh n-tem-puh-rer-ee] /kənˈtɛm pəˌrɛr i/
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.
noun, plural contemporaries.
a person belonging to the same time or period with another or others.
a person of the same age as another.
Origin of contemporary
1625-35; < Late Latin contempor- (see contemporize) + -ary
Related forms
contemporarily, adverb
contemporariness, noun
noncontemporary, adjective, noun, plural noncontemporaries.
postcontemporary, adjective
ultracontemporary, adjective, noun, plural ultracontemporaries.
uncontemporary, adjective
Can be confused
contemporary, contemporaneous (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. coexistent, concurrent, simultaneous.
Synonym Study
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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for non-contemporary
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for non-contemporary


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
noun (pl) -raries
a person living at the same time or of approximately the same age as another
something that is contemporary
(journalism) a rival newspaper
Derived Forms
contemporarily, adverb
contemporariness, noun
Usage note
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
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin contemporārius, from Latin com- together + temporārius relating to time, from tempus time
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 non-contemporary



1630s, from Medieval Latin contemporarius, from Latin com- "with" (see com-) + temporarius "of time," from tempus "time" (see temporal (v.)). Meaning "modern, characteristic of the present" is from 1866.



"one who lives at the same time as another," 1630s, originally cotemporary, from co- + temporary; modified by influence of contemporary (adj.). Replacing native time-fellow (1570s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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