[kuhn-tem-pluh-tiv, kon-tuhm-pley-, -tem-]


given to or characterized by contemplation: a contemplative mind.


a person devoted to contemplation, as a monk.

Origin of contemplative

1300–50; < Latin contemplātīvus, equivalent to contemplāt(us) (see contemplate) + -īvus -ive; replacing Middle English contemplatif < Anglo-French < Latin, as above
Related formscon·tem·pla·tive·ly, adverbcon·tem·pla·tive·ness, nounnon·con·tem·pla·tive, adjectivenon·con·tem·pla·tive·ly, adverbnon·con·tem·pla·tive·ness, nounun·con·tem·pla·tive, adjectiveun·con·tem·pla·tive·ly, adverbun·con·tem·pla·tive·ness, noun

Synonyms for contemplative Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for contemplatively

Historical Examples of contemplatively

  • But she only broke off a leaf and nibbled at it contemplatively.

    The Vagrant Duke

    George Gibbs

  • To the picture in question she had been always, in fact, able contemplatively to return.

    The Golden Bowl

    Henry James

  • He looked at her contemplatively; the dark eyes pleased him.

    The Dull Miss Archinard

    Anne Douglas Sedgwick

  • He turned and regarded her contemplatively; and she spoke again.

    The Princess Dehra

    John Reed Scott

  • “Many a man has begun on less,” continued Reid, contemplatively.

British Dictionary definitions for contemplatively



denoting, concerned with, or inclined to contemplation; meditative


a person dedicated to religious contemplation or to a way of life conducive to this
Derived Formscontemplatively, adverbcontemplativeness, 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

Word Origin and History for contemplatively



mid-14c., from Old French contemplatif (12c.), from Latin contemplativus, from contemplat-, past participle stem of contemplari (see contemplation).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper