Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Belonging to the same period of time: a fact documented by two contemporary sources.
  • adj. Of about the same age.
  • adj. Current; modern: contemporary trends in design.
  • n. One of the same time or age: Shelley and Keats were contemporaries.
  • n. A person of the present age.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. From the same time period, coexistent in time.
  • adj. Modern, of the present age.
  • n. Someone living at the same time.
  • n. Any creature living at the same time.
  • n. Something existing at the same time.
  • n. Someone of roughly the same age as another.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Living, occuring, or existing, at the same time; done in, or belonging to, the same times; contemporaneous.
  • adj. Of the same age; coeval.
  • n. One who lives at the same time with another.
  • n. a person of nearly the same age as another.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Living, existing, or occurring at the same time; contemporaneous: said of persons, things, or events.
  • Specifically Living or existing at the same time with one's self.
  • Of the same age; coeval.
  • n. One living at the same time (with another).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. characteristic of the present
  • n. a person of nearly the same age as another
  • adj. occurring in the same period of time
  • adj. belonging to the present time

Etymologies

Medieval Latin contemporārius : Latin com-, com- + Latin tempus, tempor-, time + Latin -ārius, -ary.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Recorded since 1631, from Medieval Latin contemporarius, from Latin con- ("with, together") + temporarius ("of time"), from tempus ("time") (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • Contemporary architecture makes very good use of space.

    March 30, 2007

  • When referring to rare/antique books, this term means just the opposite of what you might assume it means. A contemporary binding, plate, or other book part means that it is of the period when the book was published; likewise, a contemporary signature or inscription was made the year of publication or thereabouts.

    February 22, 2007