[kuh n-tin-juh nt]
See more synonyms for contingent on
  1. dependent for existence, occurrence, character, etc., on something not yet certain; conditional (often followed by on or upon): Our plans are contingent on the weather.
  2. liable to happen or not; uncertain; possible: They had to plan for contingent expenses.
  3. happening by chance or without known cause; fortuitous; accidental: contingent occurrences.
  4. Logic. (of a proposition) neither logically necessary nor logically impossible, so that its truth or falsity can be established only by sensory observation.
  1. a quota of troops furnished.
  2. any one of the representative groups composing an assemblage: the New York contingent at a national convention.
  3. the proportion that falls to one as a share to be contributed or furnished.
  4. something contingent; contingency.

Origin of contingent

1350–1400; late Middle English (present participle) (< Middle French) < Latin contingent- (stem of contingēns, present participle of contingere), equivalent to con- con- + ting-, variant stem of tangere to touch + -ent- -ent
Related formscon·tin·gent·ly, adverbnon·con·tin·gent, adjectivenon·con·tin·gent·ly, adverbun·con·tin·gent, adjectiveun·con·tin·gent·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for contingent


  1. (when postpositive, often foll by on or upon) dependent on events, conditions, etc, not yet known; conditional
  2. logic (of a proposition) true under certain conditions, false under others; not necessary
  3. (in systemic grammar) denoting contingency (sense 4)
  4. metaphysics (of some being) existing only as a matter of fact; not necessarily existing
  5. happening by chance or without known cause; accidental
  6. that may or may not happen; uncertain
  1. a part of a military force, parade, etc
  2. a representative group distinguished by common origin, interests, etc, that is part of a larger group or gathering
  3. a possible or chance occurrence
Derived Formscontingently, adverb

Word Origin for contingent

C14: from Latin contingere to touch, fall to one's lot, befall; see also contact
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 contingent

late 14c., from Old French contingent or directly from Latin contingentem (nominative contingens) "happening, touching," present participle of contingere "to touch" (see contact). The noun is from 1540s, "thing happening by chance;" as "a group forming part of a larger group" from 1727.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper