Definition of contemporary in US English:



  • 1Living or occurring at the same time.

    ‘the event was recorded by a contemporary historian’
    • ‘Many of the first explorers in the New World wrote home about army ants, as have more contemporary writers, natural historians, and the like.’
    • ‘In the specialised discourse of contemporary scholarship, the connection between learning and living is often lost.’
    • ‘Exposing students to old tribal masks is an affirmation of a living artistic path to which children continue to discover contemporary extensions.’
    • ‘The contemporary experience of living and acting across cultural borders means both the loss of traditional meanings and the creation of new symbolic expressions.’
    • ‘Next week we want to explore the truth, educate people on the facts of history and also the contemporary nature of it - it's not distant, ancient history that's got nothing to do with us.’
    • ‘But the Church wants to challenge that finding by meeting and debating with leading thinkers on faith and contemporary living.’
    • ‘Instead of reading the English literary critics, I read the historians and contemporary 14th century stuff.’
    • ‘Such a gesture might look to contemporary historians like an act of archival vandalism, but it was entirely characteristic of the old school to which Macmillan belonged.’
    • ‘At that time the contemporary hypothesis was that this disease was attributable to damp living conditions.’
    • ‘A peerless study, which has been less than a decade in print, it has only begun to enter the employment of contemporary theorists and historians.’
    • ‘When contemporary historians look back on Genoa in 20 years' time, will they find a smidgen of significance in these events?’
    • ‘The reverse opinion, that women writers were more true to the national life, was held by contemporary historians of the literature.’
    • ‘I think this anecdote provides a good example of the limitations confronting a contemporary labour historian who is trying to provide the most honest, accurate account possible.’
    • ‘A saint is canonized to help the living, and the nature of the help that the living need is often determined by the contemporary pressures of the world upon the church.’
    • ‘These accounts are valuable for contemporary historians of those regions in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.’
    • ‘He joins other contemporary historians in this kind of quest, obviously hoping to round out the rougher edges of writing American history.’
    • ‘Most contemporary historians tend to de-personalise war with dry statistics and lots of military detail.’
    • ‘They teach students to make sense of history as contemporary secular historians make sense of it.’
    • ‘It is these voices that make interpretation a living force as they call out to contemporary moments.’
    • ‘Few episodes elicit from contemporary historians so much outrage as the French and Russian revolutions.’
    1. 1.1 Dating from the same time.
      ‘this series of paintings is contemporary with other works in an early style’
      • ‘The cover should be contemporary with its printing.’
      • ‘The revised chronology suggests that the English dating is too early and that most examples are roughly contemporary with their American counterparts.’
      • ‘It is not necessarily contemporary with the gravels in which it is found.’
      • ‘His sources are generally firsthand accounts contemporary with the events, even down to Punch magazines of the 1800s.’
      • ‘The bust of Thales shown above is in the Capitoline Museum in Rome, but is not contemporary with Thales and is unlikely to bear any resemblance to him’
      • ‘In the important second chapter dealing with the Council of Trent and the popes contemporary with it, the stress is laid again on the importance of binding tradition.’
      • ‘The band of flat chased decoration is too dense and tightly packed to be contemporary with the mark.’
      • ‘Roughly contemporary with the pier table, it was also made in New York City, although by whom has not been determined.’
      • ‘Also of interest is the fact that Charm quilts are usually made with similar types of fabrics, often contemporary to each other, dating from the same era.’
      • ‘The stirrups we found date back to the 14th century and as far as we know, are the only known find on the site which is contemporary with the battle.’
      • ‘A low bank and shallow ditch divides the interior of the fort, but is probably not contemporary with the use of the fort.’
      • ‘The officer's testimony is significant only if the entries can be demonstrated as being contemporary with the dates provided by the diary.’
      • ‘There is a very real difficulty in judging whether any engraving is contemporary with the glass; 18th century engraving was of medium quality and is easily imitated.’
      • ‘Darwin's theory of natural selection needs to be placed in the context of the history of intellectual thought preceding and contemporary with Darwin.’
      • ‘And nobody has turned up evidence of a meteor impact contemporary with the event.’
      • ‘This discourse of the colonised is contemporary with that of the European orientalist, but from the opposite point of view.’
      • ‘The words clearly imply that the beginning of the human race was contemporary with the beginning of all things.’
      • ‘Most corporations contemporary with those analysed by the authors did not fail.’
      • ‘From this Hume infers that if any cause can be ‘perfectly contemporary with its effect’ all of them must be.’
      • ‘Yet the earliest dinosaur fossils that best fit into the dino to bird scenario are contemporary with the earliest bird fossils.’
      contemporaneous, concurrent, coeval, synchronous, synchronic, of the time, of the day, simultaneous
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  • 2Belonging to or occurring in the present.

    ‘the tension and complexities of our contemporary society’
    • ‘Broadly speaking, each of the texts included in this ongoing project speaks in some fashion about contemporary society and the politics through which it is governed.’
    • ‘They have turned their attention to the Caribbean and will present an evening of contemporary dance, enriched with the colours, sounds, gestures and rhythms of reggae.’
    • ‘This is what happened in the 1930s and, over a longer time scale, it has happened over recent decades in contemporary society.’
    • ‘The UK-based international physical theatre company is known for its masterful contemporary stage presentations.’
    • ‘In a contemporary presentation that will see 14 dancers highlighting the country's contribution to world thought and culture, much has gone into the music of the show.’
    • ‘The photographs on display here together present a contemporary vision of the world; they evoke the beliefs and the traditions of mankind, as well as the landscapes they portray.’
    • ‘Rather than present well-known contemporary works, this concert will feature many new works.’
    • ‘I spent much of my early career working with musicians and presenting traditional and contemporary poetry as theater for school-aged children.’
    • ‘It is a travelling show which builds on exhibitions held earlier to present contemporary works from both the East and the West.’
    • ‘For Packer, even the present isn't contemporary enough.’
    • ‘Readers will not get a strong sense of the historical processes that led each of these four groups to the structure and belief system present in the contemporary world.’
    • ‘The legal questions presented in contemporary periodicals and monographs cannot be understood without such a foundation for analysis as this book provides.’
    • ‘In short, there is at present no endogenous theory capable of unifying contemporary societies and no imposed or imported ideology can be simply substituted for it.’
    • ‘It takes into consideration a huge variety of cultural, personal and social concerns, creating a vivid mosaic that presents a contemporary image of our Canadian identity.’
    • ‘His own appeal, he hopes, will lie in his ability to present a young, contemporary package, while sacrificing none of his classical roots.’
    • ‘Scotland's principal contemporary dance company presents a fresh and eclectic double bill exploring the complex nature of imagination.’
    • ‘So, every time the curtain lifts, there is something new - a contemporary issue presented with all the witticism of the world.’
    • ‘Personalities and individual behaviour dominate the presentation of contemporary politics.’
    • ‘The deluxe plus package contains the couple's favourite selection of prints in a variety of sizes, presented in an attractive contemporary album.’
    • ‘The subordination of women to men and the prohibition on divorce, both clearly stated in scripture, can at present be modified to adapt the church to contemporary society.’
    modern, present-day, present, current, present-time, immediate, extant
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    1. 2.1 Following modern ideas or fashion in style or design.
      ‘contemporary art’
      • ‘The play begins in a contemporary English living room.’
      • ‘They claimed the residential building ‘aimed to evoke the qualities of Victorian detail and comparable scale within a modern contemporary style’.’
      • ‘And a lot of that sort of fearlessness and punk rock edge were carried over into her modern, contemporary style.’
      • ‘A circular tower with a domed skylight exemplifies the surprising styling characteristic of contemporary design.’
      • ‘Morris chairs, which sat in the living area for years, were replaced with a more contemporary upholstered cream-coloured three-piece set to match the walls.’
      • ‘The series will showcase renowned national and international architects, scholars and artists to address subjects in contemporary design, arts and culture.’
      • ‘It extends to 185 square metres and its theme is one of contemporary style in a modern age.’
      • ‘In the past, conservative Irish tastes wanted contemporary works for their living rooms.’
      • ‘Drawings, designs, contemporary paintings, and modern photographs complement the text.’
      • ‘An effort is under way to resurrect the museum with a focus on crafts and design, rather than contemporary art.’
      • ‘Galleries which deal in contemporary modern art tend to follow the style of the public galleries, which space it out and seclude you and the work within an anonymous white box.’
      • ‘Modern and contemporary designs are picked up by working women for daily wear.’
      • ‘Whether your taste runs to classic, country, or contemporary style, the following pages show how to achieve that look.’
      • ‘This proposed project will combine ideas taken from contemporary climatic design and traditional Middle Eastern art and architecture.’
      • ‘The tea glass is a contemporary Shanghai Art Deco design in silver to match the black porcelain teapot encased in a silver container.’
      • ‘The ideas date back at least 3,000 years, yet a growing number of architects and decorators are integrating feng shui ideas with contemporary building design.’
      • ‘Reassuringly simple in design but given a contemporary twist by modern detailing, the boxes can be wall-mounted, placed on wheels or used freestanding.’
      • ‘The marriage room has been designed in a more contemporary style in a brown and cream colour scheme, with art works and flower arrangements.’
      • ‘Seldom have such exceptional dancers handled traditional modern and contemporary styles so seamlessly.’
      • ‘This is a modern, contemporary design and would be a high quality building.’
      novel, fresh, original, unhackneyed, imaginative, creative, experimental, new-fashioned, modernist, up to date
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  • 1A person or thing living or existing at the same time as another.

    ‘he was a contemporary of Darwin’
    • ‘This year I discovered the books of Charles Williams, a contemporary of JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis but kind of forgotten now.’
    • ‘A contemporary of Galileo, Descartes, Rembrandt, and Milton, Comenius contributed greatly to the Enlightenment.’
    • ‘A Canadian PhD student studying a contemporary of Wordsworth, who has worked as a journalist and political staffer.’
    • ‘Harvey chose a female architect - Mary Colter, a contemporary of Frank Lloyd Wright - to lead the building of the Harvey House empire in 1910.’
    • ‘Archytas was, roughly speaking, a contemporary of Plato, but it is difficult to be more precise about his dates.’
    • ‘He was a contemporary of Charles Olson, had corresponded with W.C. Williams and had been in bar fights with Jack Kerouac.’
    • ‘Constance spent nearly five years researching and editing the new collection as well as writing the first biographical study of Isabella, who was a contemporary of William Wordsworth.’
    • ‘Cumulative dramatic structure is all-important in Mercadante, a younger contemporary of Verdi, and the excisions proved detrimental.’
    • ‘Maya was a contemporary of the Mexican surrealist painter Remedios Varo, and even looked a bit like her.’
    • ‘He was a near contemporary of the great Abhinava Gupta.’
    • ‘She was a contemporary of St. Patrick and is said to have made her religious vows to him in Killaraght which lies between Monasteraden and Boyle.’
    • ‘Mr. Bellow was the exact contemporary of Arthur Miller: Both were born in 1915 and died this year.’
    • ‘Davy Graham is a contemporary of McTell's who was the original guitar hero of the emerging early 60s British folk underground.’
    • ‘In this he differs from his great contemporary, Tennessee Williams, for whom the interior world of his characters is more real than their social environ.’
    • ‘His near contemporary, the shy and upright Samuel Crompton invented the spinning mule that allowed Britain to corner the market in fine-spun cottons.’
    • ‘For a time, a contemporary of the poet with his own cancer came to visit him and they were able to converse quite satisfactorily.’
    • ‘One contemporary of George Adams was the brilliant oddsmaker Solomon Green, born in England in 1868.’
    • ‘John, a contemporary of Jesus who also preached a message of redemption, is one of the most important figures in Christianity.’
    • ‘A contemporary of Skinner, at the other end of Somerset, was the Reverend Mr Holland, an altogether better balanced character.’
    • ‘His eyes are opened by a contemporary who owns nothing but appreciates beauty, and the revelation revolutionises their previously unpleasant relationship.’
    peer, fellow
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    1. 1.1 A person of roughly the same age as another.
      ‘my contemporaries at school’
      • ‘He was a renowned dancer and his friends and contemporaries say his skill at Jiving was without equal.’
      • ‘Valerie had been a pupil and a contemporary of Maureen at school, when Maureen's maiden name had been O'Neill.’
      • ‘A similar theme informed the research of a postgraduate student who was a contemporary of mine at the University of Stirling in the 1970s.’
      • ‘I've waited a while for peers and contemporaries to arrive around me.’
      • ‘Her contemporaries and colleagues say that she is once again back to where she really belongs.’
      peer, equal, brother
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Mid 17th century: from medieval Latin contemporarius, from con- ‘together with’ + tempus, tempor- ‘time’ (on the pattern of Latin contemporaneus and late Latin contemporalis).