[kon-tuhm-pleyt, -tem-]
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

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 contemplator

Historical Examples of contemplator

  • You know the sentiments with which you have inspired the Contemplator of Nature.

  • I am therefore simply a contemplator of the world; the only act which is peculiarly mine is contemplation.

  • When the contemplator of evil deeds begins also to contemplate consequences, reason is beginning to resume her sway.

  • Thine age survives the youth of all; and the Final Day shall find thee still the contemplator of our tombs.


    Edward Bulwer Lytton

British Dictionary definitions for contemplator


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 contemplator



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper