[kon-tuh m-pley-shuh n, -tem-]


the act of contemplating; thoughtful observation.
full or deep consideration; reflection: religious contemplation.
purpose or intention.
prospect or expectation.

Origin of contemplation

1175–1225; < Latin contemplātiōn- (stem of contemplātiō); see contemplate, -ion; replacing Middle English contemplaci(o)un < Anglo-French < Latin, as above
Related formspre·con·tem·pla·tion, nounre·con·tem·pla·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for contemplation

Contemporary Examples of contemplation

Historical Examples of contemplation

  • The truth could not be concealed, nor the contemplation of it avoided.

  • Raising his eyes from a contemplation of the heels in front of him, he saw Belle Langdon.


    W. A. Fraser

  • I wasn't so enamoured with the ancients as I thought I was; but I was enamoured with your contemplation of my pose.

  • The contemplation of the infirm and lonely steed overcame him.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • A state of mind produced by contemplation of a neighbor's uneasiness.

British Dictionary definitions for contemplation



thoughtful or long consideration or observation
spiritual meditation esp (in Christian religious practice) concentration of the mind and soul upon GodCompare meditation
purpose or intention
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 contemplation

c.1200, "religious musing," from Old French contemplation or directly from Latin contemplationem (nominative contemplatio) "act of looking at," from contemplat-, past participle stem of contemplari "to gaze attentively, observe," originally "to mark out a space for observation" (as an augur does). From com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + templum "area for the taking of auguries" (see temple (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper