Definition of contemplative in US English:



  • 1Expressing or involving prolonged thought.

    ‘she regarded me with a contemplative eye’
    • ‘The film also implicitly questions the validity of a contemporary academic that fails to incorporate political activism in favour of a purely aesthetic or contemplative mode of being.’
    • ‘Then follows his more recent photographic work that expresses his contemplative enjoyment of the quiet landscapes unrolling between the Great Lakes and the East Coast.’
    • ‘We must take it at face value for there is no torment beyond the exuberant grins, coy smirks or contemplative musings of any of the grandmothers.’
    • ‘The long, dreamy, contemplative takes of classic Hollywood studio movies or postwar European art films are long gone.’
    • ‘Haiku is contemplative poetry and is characterised by spontaneity and lightness.’
    • ‘On the other hand, the dynamic panoramic views reflect his contemplative sense of analysis and recognition of space, timing and content.’
    • ‘He says he's trying to ‘create a contemplative space’ in a city that has been overtaken by advertising and commerce, in a culture that is becoming less free and more mediated.’
    • ‘Then some of them are very contemplative and introspective.’
    • ‘Nobody really needs one more contemplative musical sigh about how it's kinda sad when your woman leaves you or you realize you just don't fit into society or you're getting old.’
    • ‘In lieu of more thoughtful and contemplative reflections, I'll just present my top 5 panels.’
    • ‘One would have liked a better balance throughout the album, as it slows dangerously on the latter half and misplaces its original rock intentions while it pursues a more contemplative attitude.’
    • ‘Described as part rock, part country, they straddle the very popular contemporary line between all out party animals and more considered contemplative songwriters and performers.’
    • ‘I can't really put my finger on it, but I have realised that it is seriously underplayed in my life, and definitely merits more frequent airings, especially when I want to be contemplative.’
    • ‘In more contemplative moments, Dick must pine for the relatively simple life he enjoyed at his previous posting.’
    • ‘These painted images are contemplative musings of a reflective thinker looking through veils of timelessness to honour the artistic masters of the past.’
    • ‘I can tell you he's read thousands of pages, and met with a lot of different people who have very strong views, and he's been very contemplative how he's considered this issue.’
    • ‘The mood of his album is dreamy and contemplative, with occasional bursts of childish exuberance.’
    • ‘His air is contemplative and dreamy in both self-portraits.’
    • ‘But either way, it's a warm, gently humid, contemplative space, air filled with the gurgle of small waterfalls, flowing over the regular patterns of concrete steps, into pools sprouting with fern and reed.’
    • ‘It is such a fixture in our collective consciousness, it seems either much older or much younger, but certainly not the ordinary, pedestrian, contemplative age of 50.’
    thoughtful, pensive, reflective, meditative, musing, ruminative, introspective, brooding, intent, rapt, preoccupied, studious, deep in thought, lost in thought
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    1. 1.1 Involving or given to deep silent prayer or religious meditation.
      ‘contemplative knowledge of God’
      • ‘The early poetry reveals an interest in religious contemplative themes.’
      • ‘Despite the noisy celebration with loud conches and raucous bells, the essence of practice of Hinduism is a quiet introspection and contemplative meditation.’
      • ‘We are now fully in the domain of contemplative prayer.’
      • ‘To my mind, the essential difference between philosophy and religion is in the religious type of contemplative act, the observer is within it, not outside it.’
      • ‘The quest for personal mastery requires some form of meditation or contemplative prayer because ‘it is helpful in working more productively with the subconscious mind’.’
      • ‘At other points, the poetry of ideas is brought together with a more natural landscape to create contemplative opportunities of the type usually associated with ancient temples and monuments.’
      • ‘But people were also contemplative and prayerful.’
      • ‘People walk the labyrinth slowly, as an aid to contemplative prayer and reflection, as a spiritual exercise, or as a form of pilgrimage.’
      • ‘This is one of the material reasons the world needs nuns outside the contemplative orders - teaching sisters, hospital sisters, Missionaries of Charity and the rest.’
      • ‘The natural beauty of the Park is ideal for contemplative life, as monks and nuns of earlier centuries found before us.’
      • ‘It has been argued that the current interest in contemplative prayer is a middle-class luxury for those who wish to experience some kind of spiritual frisson.’
      • ‘And he was for 14 years a member of a contemplative religious order so his values are all in the right place.’
      • ‘Lewis's last three chapters are an extended allegory of contemplative prayer.’
      • ‘Then, in her middle seventies, she stopped, resolving to use the years she had left to pursue God through the solitary practice of contemplative prayer.’
      • ‘It's as old as humanity, and in the Christian tradition there is a very clear and strong affirmation of the contemplative dimension of prayer.’
      • ‘The daily prayer services move through themes loosely associated with the seven days of creation; each service repeatedly invites silent contemplative prayer.’
      • ‘I would sit there with my books and studies, or sometimes engage in my own form of contemplative prayer.’
      • ‘As a member of a contemplative religious order spending time in silence is nothing strange to me, and is something I look forward to.’
      • ‘It can stimulate religions to excavate the contemplative and meditative paths in their own heritages, such as the Jewish meditation movement and Christian centering prayer.’
      • ‘Plus, you will need to set aside 40 minutes each day for contemplative prayer.’
      prayerful, reflective, musing, pensive, cogitative, thinking, thoughtful, studious, rapt, introspective, brooding, philosophical, ruminative, deliberative, ruminant, speculative, wistful
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  • A person whose life is devoted primarily to prayer, especially in a monastery or convent.

    • ‘The false self that the contemplative would renounce is problematic.’
    • ‘She points out that even Sufi practitioners, the contemplatives of Islam, are marginalized by the powerful clerics and government leaders who guide Islam.’
    • ‘What Evans has provided, however, is a well-written and masterful introduction to this great monastic contemplative and doctor of the church.’
    • ‘And in what way can the contemplatives, religious leaders and educators of our time help to build this bridge from privatised piety to public moral responsibility.’
    • ‘And I came away convinced that having contemplatives in our secular society, dedicated to peace, praying for us, seemed less an anachronism and more a blessing in our troubled 21st century.’
    • ‘Most deputies, many parish priests among them, believed that contemplatives were useless parasites, unproductive burdens on society whose existence no national church could justify.’
    • ‘Nonetheless, the act of reading can be sacred if we realize how close it is in spirit to the search for the contemplative.’
    • ‘Medieval contemplatives kept their eyes on heaven, too, denying that this world is their real home and resting place.’
    • ‘I mean that's what religious contemplatives have tried to do and to grasp.’
    • ‘She employs quotes from philosophers, artists, contemplatives and others to draw us into the quiet world she depicts.’
    • ‘One could argue that the open position is represented at one end of the spectrum by contemplatives and the solid position at the other end by fundamentalists.’
    • ‘He made application to Prior Richard at a local monastery, asking to be accepted as a contemplative and spend the rest of his life in the monastery.’
    • ‘Early Puritan Baptists relied on some techniques for cultivating the spiritual life very similar to those used by medieval contemplatives.’
    • ‘And I suppose the biggest and strongest desire I have is this one of being a contemplative with a capital C.’
    • ‘Unification with God is the goal of contemplatives.’
    • ‘Thomas was a biblical commentator, an educator of his fellow friars, a theologian, a preacher, and a great contemplative.’
    • ‘Vergil is a kind of contemplative who finds himself writing epic, at the average pace of about three lines a day.’
    • ‘Asked why, the rabbi responded: ‘How many of your bishops are contemplatives?’’
    • ‘Father Joseph was one of the great Christian contemplatives of his century.’
    • ‘These contemplatives, who appeared so oddly out of touch with the world as it was, knew far more about it than those whose days were spent mastering the marketplace.’