[ kon-tuhm-pleyt, -tem- ]
See synonyms for contemplate on
verb (used with object),con·tem·plat·ed, con·tem·plat·ing.
  1. to look at or view with continued attention; observe or study thoughtfully: to contemplate the stars.

  2. to consider thoroughly; think fully or deeply about: to contemplate a difficult problem.

  1. to have as a purpose; intend: The District Attorney's office does not contemplate any charges.

  2. to have in view as a future event: to contemplate buying a new car.

verb (used without object),con·tem·plat·ed, con·tem·plat·ing.
  1. to think studiously; consider deliberately; meditate.

Origin of contemplate

First recorded in 1585–95; from Latin contemplātus, past participle of contemplāre, contemplārī “to survey, observe,” equivalent to con- “with, together” + templ(um) “space marked off for augural observation” + -ātus past participle suffix; see origin at con-, temple1, -ate1

Other words for contemplate

Other words from contemplate

  • con·tem·pla·tor, noun
  • pre·con·tem·plate, verb, pre·con·tem·plat·ed, pre·con·tem·plat·ing.
  • re·con·tem·plate, verb, re·con·tem·plat·ed, re·con·tem·plat·ing.
  • un·con·tem·plat·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use contemplate in a sentence

  • Here, as everywhere, St. Paul contemplates these exclusive opposites as the sole issues of man's life, and of the Gospel ministry.

  • The student of history contemplates the rise and fall of nations and traces the causes which have led to their overthrow.

    Beyond | Henry Seward Hubbard

British Dictionary definitions for contemplate


/ (ˈkɒntɛmˌpleɪt, -təm-) /

verb(mainly tr)
  1. to think about intently and at length; consider calmly

  2. (intr) to think intently and at length, esp for spiritual reasons; meditate

  1. to look at thoughtfully; observe pensively

  2. to have in mind as a possibility: to contemplate changing jobs

Origin of contemplate

C16: from Latin contemplāre, from templum temple 1

Derived forms of contemplate

  • contemplator, 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