- existing, occurring, or living at the same time; belonging to the same time: Newton's discovery of the calculus was contemporary with that of Leibniz.
- of about the same age or date: a Georgian table with a contemporary wig stand.
- of the present time; modern: a lecture on the contemporary novel.
- a person belonging to the same time or period with another or others.
- a person of the same age as another.
Origin of contemporary
SynonymsSee more synonyms for contemporary on Thesaurus.com
1. coexistent, concurrent, simultaneous.
1. Contemporary, contemporaneous, coeval, coincident all mean happening or existing at the same time. Contemporary often refers to persons or their acts or achievements: Hemingway and Fitzgerald, though contemporary, shared few values. Contemporaneous is applied chiefly to events: the rise of industrialism, contemporaneous with the spread of steam power. Coeval refers either to very long periods of time—an era or an eon—or to remote or long ago times: coeval stars, shining for millenia with equal brilliance; coeval with the dawning of civilization. Coincident means occurring at the same time but without causal or other relationships: prohibition, coincident with the beginning of the 1920s.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for contemporary
Some contemporary police have military backgrounds to fall back on.A Veteran’s View: NYC Cold War Between Cops and City Hall
December 29, 2014
That goes for its contemporary membership roster as well as for the photographers represented in the exhibition.
Paris as depicted by contemporary photography appears… lackluster.
But contemporary classical music has changed, and the field is now spawning many appealing and genre-bending works.The Best Albums of 2014
December 13, 2014
According to contemporary reports, at several of the truces, there were rough soccer matches between the German and British sides.Royals Remember The Christmas Truce of 1914
December 12, 2014
This statement is abundantly confirmed by contemporary facts.
Note 18: Mr. Robinson was educated at Harrow, and was a contemporary of Mr. Sheridan.Beaux and Belles of England
The period is contemporary with the peruke––the period is the peruke of style.Leading Articles on Various Subjects
The italics are ours: the satisfaction appears to be our contemporary's.
We do not care for their “ideals” expounded in contemporary histories and eulogies.
- belonging to the same age; living or occurring in the same period of time
- existing or occurring at the present time
- conforming to modern or current ideas in style, fashion, design, etc
- having approximately the same age as one another
- a person living at the same time or of approximately the same age as another
- something that is contemporary
- journalism a rival newspaper
C17: from Medieval Latin contemporārius, from Latin com- together + temporārius relating to time, from tempus time
Since contemporary can mean either of the same period or of the present period, it is best to avoid this word where ambiguity might arise, as in a production of Othello in contemporary dress. Modern dress or Elizabethan dress should be used in this example to avoid ambiguity
Word Origin and History for contemporary
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper