[kon-tuhm-pleyt, -tem-]
See more 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.
  3. to have as a purpose; intend.
  4. 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; meditate; consider deliberately.

Origin of contemplate

1585–95; < Latin contemplātus past participle of contemplāre, contemplārī to survey, observe, equivalent to con- con- + templ(um) space marked off for augural observation, temple1 + -ātus -ate1
Related formscon·tem·plat·ing·ly, adverbcon·tem·pla·tor, nounpre·con·tem·plate, verb, pre·con·tem·plat·ed, pre·con·tem·plat··con·tem·plate, verb, re·con·tem·plat·ed, re·con·tem·plat·ing.un·con·tem·plat·ed, adjective

Synonyms for contemplate

See more synonyms for on
1. gaze at, behold, regard, survey. 2. study, ponder. 3. design, plan. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for contemplating

Contemporary Examples of contemplating

Historical Examples of contemplating

  • An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.

  • Duncan drew a rueful face, contemplating the place where she had been.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • I remained wrapped up in furs, contemplating the magnificent night.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • They were silent for a while, contemplating this strange disruption of their affairs.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • What a recollection, if she thinks of the past, in contemplating the present!

British Dictionary definitions for contemplating


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
  3. to look at thoughtfully; observe pensively
  4. to have in mind as a possibilityto contemplate changing jobs
Derived Formscontemplator, noun

Word Origin for contemplate

C16: from Latin contemplāre, from templum temple 1
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 contemplating



1590s, from Latin contemplatus, past participle of contemplari "survey, observe" (see contemplation). Related: Contemplated; contemplating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper