[kon-tuh m-pley-shuh n, -tem-]
  1. the act of contemplating; thoughtful observation.
  2. full or deep consideration; reflection: religious contemplation.
  3. purpose or intention.
  4. prospect or expectation.

Origin of contemplation

1175–1225; < Latin contemplātiōn- (stem of contemplātiō); see contemplate, -ion; replacing Middle English contemplaci(o)un < Anglo-French < Latin, as above
Related formspre·con·tem·pla·tion, nounre·con·tem·pla·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for precontemplation


  1. thoughtful or long consideration or observation
  2. spiritual meditation esp (in Christian religious practice) concentration of the mind and soul upon GodCompare meditation
  3. purpose or intention
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 precontemplation



c.1200, "religious musing," from Old French contemplation or directly from Latin contemplationem (nominative contemplatio) "act of looking at," from contemplat-, past participle stem of contemplari "to gaze attentively, observe," originally "to mark out a space for observation" (as an augur does). From com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + templum "area for the taking of auguries" (see temple (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper