[ kuhn-tem-pluh-tiv, kon-tuhm-pley-, -tem- ]
See synonyms for contemplative on
  1. given to or characterized by contemplation: a contemplative mind.

  1. a person devoted to contemplation, as a monk.

Origin of contemplative

First recorded in 1300–50; from Latin contemplātīvus, from contemplāt(us) “surveyed, observed” (see contemplate) + -īvus -ive; replacing Middle English contemplatif, from Anglo-French, from Latin, as above

Other words for contemplative

Other words from contemplative

  • con·tem·pla·tive·ly, adverb
  • con·tem·pla·tive·ness, noun
  • non·con·tem·pla·tive, adjective
  • non·con·tem·pla·tive·ly, adverb
  • non·con·tem·pla·tive·ness, noun
  • un·con·tem·pla·tive, adjective
  • un·con·tem·pla·tive·ly, adverb
  • un·con·tem·pla·tive·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use contemplative in a sentence

  • Thus those are not termed "contemplatives" who merely contemplate, but they who devote their lives to contemplation.

  • Dante places him in Paradise among the great contemplatives.

    How France Built Her Cathedrals | Elizabeth Boyle O'Reilly
  • The greatest contemplatives, returning from their highest ascents, can only tell us of a world that is "unwalled."

    Practical Mysticism | Evelyn Underhill
  • We are both, he paused and then added with dignity, contemplatives by nature.

    The Romance of His Life | Mary Cholmondeley
  • The Contemplatives are contributing it every day, and all day long.

    Mariquita | John Ayscough

British Dictionary definitions for contemplative


/ (ˈkɒntɛmˌpleɪtɪv, -təm-, kənˈtɛmplə-) /

  1. denoting, concerned with, or inclined to contemplation; meditative

  1. a person dedicated to religious contemplation or to a way of life conducive to this

Derived forms of contemplative

  • contemplatively, adverb
  • contemplativeness, 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