1. Belonging to the same period of time: a fact documented by two contemporary sources.
2. Of about the same age.
3. Current; modern: contemporary trends in design.
1. One of the same time or age: Shelley and Keats were contemporaries.
2. A person of the present age.
[Medieval Latin contemporrius : Latin com-, com- + Latin tempus, tempor-, time + Latin -rius, -ary.]
Synonyms: contemporary, contemporaneous, simultaneous, synchronous, concurrent, coincident, concomitant These adjectives mean existing or occurring at the same time. Contemporary is used more often of persons, contemporaneous of events and facts: The composer Salieri was contemporary with Mozart. A rise in interest rates is often contemporaneous with an increase in inflation. Simultaneous more narrowly specifies occurrence of events at the same time: The activists organized simultaneous demonstrations in many major cities. Synchronous refers to correspondence of events in time over a short period: The dancers executed a series of synchronous movements. Concurrent implies parallelism in character or length of time: The mass murderer was given three concurrent life sentences. Coincident applies to events occurring at the same time without implying a relationship: The resistance to the Popes authority . . . is pretty nearly coincident with the rise of the Ottomans (John Henry Newman). Concomitant refers to coincidence in time of events so clearly related that one seems attendant on the other: He is an adherent of Freuds theories and had a concomitant belief in the efficacy of psychoanalysis.
Usage Note: When contemporary is used in reference to something in the past, its meaning is not always clear. Contemporary critics of Shakespeare may mean critics in his time or critics in our time. When the context does not make the meaning clear, misunderstanding can be avoided by using phrases such as critics in Shakespeares time or modern critics.