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[kon-tuh m-pley-shuh n, -tem-] /ˌkɒn təmˈpleɪ ʃən, -tɛm-/
the act of contemplating; thoughtful observation.
full or deep consideration; reflection:
religious contemplation.
purpose or intention.
prospect or expectation.
Origin of contemplation
1175-1225; < Latin contemplātiōn- (stem of contemplātiō); see contemplate, -ion; replacing Middle English contemplaci(o)un < Anglo-French < Latin, as above
Related forms
precontemplation, noun
recontemplation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for contemplation
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • For the first time the prisoner raised his eyes from contemplation of the floor.

    The Red Seal Natalie Sumner Lincoln
  • Raising his eyes from a contemplation of the heels in front of him, he saw Belle Langdon.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • The contemplation of her pleasure gave me what some would call the most unselfish delight.

    The Record of Nicholas Freydon A. J. (Alec John) Dawson
  • The contemplation of the infirm and lonely steed overcame him.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • A long vista of food-less days opened before her, and in their contemplation the weight in her heart grew very heavy indeed.

    Rebecca Mary Annie Hamilton Donnell
British Dictionary definitions for contemplation


/ˌkɒntɛmˈpleɪʃən; -təm-/
thoughtful or long consideration or observation
spiritual meditation esp (in Christian religious practice) concentration of the mind and soul upon God Compare meditation
purpose or intention
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for contemplation

c.1200, "religious musing," from Old French contemplation or directly from Latin contemplationem (nominative contemplatio) "act of looking at," from contemplat-, past participle stem of contemplari "to gaze attentively, observe," originally "to mark out a space for observation" (as an augur does). From com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + templum "area for the taking of auguries" (see temple (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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