English edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English contemplatyve, contemplatyf, from Old French contemplatif, from the participle stem of Latin contemplāre.

Pronunciation edit

  • (UK) IPA(key): /kənˈtɛmplətɪv/, /ˈkɒntəmplətɪv/
  • (file)

Adjective edit

contemplative (comparative more contemplative, superlative most contemplative)

  1. Inclined to contemplate; introspective and thoughtful; meditative.
    • 1873, John Stuart Mill, chapter 5, in Autobiography[1]:
      Compared with the greatest poets, he may be said to be the poet of unpoetical natures, possessed of quiet and contemplative tastes. But unpoetical natures are precisely those which require poetic cultivation. This cultivation Wordsworth is much more fitted to give, than poets who are intrinsically far more poets than he.
  2. Pertaining to a religious contemplative, or a contemplative religious orders, especially the Roman Catholic varieties.
    • 1870 April–September, Charles Dickens, “Chapter 3”, in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, London: Chapman and Hall, [], published 1870, →OCLC:
      Whether the nuns of yore, being of a submissive rather than a stiff-necked generation, habitually bent their contemplative heads to avoid collision with the beams in the low ceilings of the many chambers of their House [...] may be matters of interest to its haunting ghosts (if any), but constitute no item in Miss Twinkleton's half-yearly accounts.
  3. Relating to, or having the power of, contemplation.
    contemplative faculties
  4. (medicine, psychiatry) In a phase of mental activity in which one begins to recognize and acknowledge the maladaptiveness of someone's behavior (such as own's own, or that of a family member or friend); usually with reference to substance use.
    Coordinate term: precontemplative

Synonyms edit

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Noun edit

contemplative (plural contemplatives)

  1. Someone who has dedicated themselves to religious or philosophical contemplation.
    • 1981, William Irwin Thompson, The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light:Mythology, Sexuality and the Origins of Culture, page 10:
      Like the white page that surrounds the darkness of each letter you are reading here, eternity surrounds each heartbeat, and as the contemplative watches his breath, he can move out of time through the doorway which opens in the interval between each heartbeat.
    • 2009, Karen Armstrong, The Case for God, Vintage, published 2010, page 112:
      The contemplative must not expect exotic feelings, visions or heavenly voices; these did not come from God but from his own fevered imagination and would merely distract him from his true objective [...].

French edit

Adjective edit


  1. feminine singular of contemplatif

Italian edit

Adjective edit


  1. feminine plural of contemplativo

Anagrams edit

Latin edit

Adjective edit


  1. vocative masculine singular of contemplātīvus