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From Latin contemporāneus (contemporary), from con- (prefix indicating a being or bringing together of several objects) + tempor-, tempus (time, period, age) + -aneus (-aneous, suffix meaning ‘of or pertaining to’) (compare Late Latin temporāneus (opportune, timely)).



contemporaneous (not comparable)

  1. Existing or created in the same period of time.
    Look in other contemporaneous works to see whether that idea was common then.
    • 1736, Isaac Newton; John Colson, “Prob[lem] II. An Equation being Proposed, Including the Fluxions of Quantities, to Find the Relations of those Quantities to One Another.”, in The Method of Fluxions and Infinite Series; with Its Application to the Geometry of Curve-lines. [...] Translated from the Author’s Latin Original Not Yet Made Publick. To which is Subjoin’d, a Perpetual Comment upon the Whole Work, Consisting of Annotations, Illustrations, and Supplements, in Order to Make this Treatise a Compleat Institution for the Use of Learners, London: Printed by Henry Woodfall; and sold by John Nourse, at the Lamb without Temple-Bar, OCLC 723265465, page 43:
      Let AE and ae be two Lines indefinitely extended each way, along which two moving Things or Points may paſs from afar, and at the ſame time may reach the places A and a, B and b, C and c, D and d, &c. and let B be the Point, by its diſtance from which, the Motion of the moving thing or point in AE is eſtimated; so that — BA, BC, BD, BE, ſucceſſively, may be the flowing Quantities, when the moving thing is in the places A, C, D, E. Likewiſe let b be a like point in the other Line. Then will — BA and — ba be contemporaneous Fluents, as alſo BC and bc, BD and bd, BE and be, &c. [] [T]he contemporaneous parts AB and ab, BC and bc, CD and cd, DE and de are of the ſame length in both caſes. And thus in Equations in which theſe Quantities are repreſented, the contemporaneous parts of Quantities are not therefore changed, notwithſtanding their abſolute magnitude may be increaſed or diminiſhed by ſome given Quantity.
    • 1818, John Potter; G[eorge] Dunbar, “A Concise General History of the Early Grecian States; with some Observations on the Nature and Policy of the Spartan and Athenian Governments”, in Archaeologia Graeca, or the Antiquities of Greece. By John Potter, D.D. Late Archbishop of Canterbury. A New Edition. To which is Added, an Appendix, Containing a Concise History of the Grecian States, and a Short Account of the Lives and Writings of the Most Celebrated Greek Authors. By G. Dunbar, F.R.S.E. and Professor of Greek in the University of Edinburgh. In Two Volumes, volume II, new edition, Edinburgh: Printed for Stirling & Slade; [et al.], OCLC 19941919, part II (On the Literature of the Greeks), pages 96–97:
      In ancient times, as was formerly remarked, every event that excited any degree of interest, was wrought up in verse by the poets, and transmitted, by the aid of memory, from one generation to another. Other circumstances of a public nature, which gave less scope to the imagination, or could scarcely admit of amplification, were engraven on brass or marble, or stamped upon medals. In these different ways the memory of some ancient occurrences was imperfectly preserved, and afforded the means and materials, when writing came into use, to secure contemporaneous events from perishing for ever, and of making them more generally known.
    • 1973 May, Harun Kofi Wangara, quoting Cheikh Anta Diop, “African Perspective on History”, in John H[arold] Johnson, editor, Black World, volume XXIII, number 4, Chicago, Ill.: Johnson Publishing Company, published February 1974, ISSN 0006-4319, OCLC 4717946, pages 58–59:
      You know that Meroïtic is an ancient Nubian writing system of the third, or fourth century B.C., and is a script which conceals a typically African language. [] [I]f this script is deciphered, we will have in that respect the testimony of an African language which goes back 2,400 years, that is to say [back to a period] fairly contemporaneous with Latin and other languages of antiquity.
    • 2012 July 12, Sam Adams, “Ice Age: Continental Drift”, in The A.V. Club[1], archived from the original on 25 March 2014:
      Preceded by a Simpsons short shot in 3-D—perhaps the only thing more superfluous than a fourth Ice Age movie—Ice Age: Continental Drift finds a retinue of vaguely contemporaneous animals coping with life in the post-Pangaea age.

Usage notesEdit

For events which occur at precisely the same time, simultaneous is used.


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