• (British) IPA: /kənˈtɛmplətɪv/, /ˈkɒntəmplətɪv/


  1. Inclined to contemplate; introspective and thoughtful; meditative.
    • 1873, John Stuart Mill, Autobiography, [ Chapter 5]:
      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, Charles Dickens, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, [ Chapter 3]:
      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
  • (inclined to contemplate) seeSynonyms en
Related terms Noun

contemplative (plural contemplatives)

  1. Someone who has dedicated themselves to religious contemplation.
    • 2009, Karen Armstrong, The Case for God, Vintage 2010, p. 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 [...].

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