Things that are contemporary are either happening at the same time or happening now. Contemporary art is recent art.

In history class, if you hear that one famous person was a contemporary of another, that means they lived at the same time. Contemporaries are people and things from the same time period. Contemporary can also describe things happening now or recently. It's common to speak of contemporary music or contemporary furniture, for example. Those things are new, not old. Anything characteristic of the present day can be called contemporary.

Definitions of contemporary
  1. adjective
    occurring in the same period of time
    “the composer Salieri was contemporary with Mozart”
    synonyms: contemporaneous
    synchronal, synchronic, synchronous
    occurring or existing at the same time or having the same period or phase
  2. adjective
    belonging to the present time
    contemporary leaders”
    synonyms: present-day
    occurring in or belonging to the present time
  3. adjective
    characteristic of the present
    contemporary trends in design”
    synonyms: modern-day
    belonging to the modern era; since the Middle Ages
  4. noun
    a person of nearly the same age as another
    synonyms: coeval
    see moresee less
    type of:
    compeer, equal, match, peer
    a person who is of equal standing with another in a group
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