Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.


1. Liable but not certain to occur; possible: "All salaries are reckoned on contingent as well as on actual services" (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
2. Dependent on other conditions or circumstances; conditional: arms sales contingent on the approval of Congress. See Synonyms at dependent.
3. Happening by or subject to chance or accident; unpredictable: contingent developments that jeopardized the negotiations. See Synonyms at accidental.
4. Logic True only under certain conditions; not necessarily or universally true: a contingent proposition.
a. A group or detachment, as of troops or police, assigned to aid a larger force.
b. A representative group that is selected from or part of a larger group.
2. An event or condition that is likely but not inevitable.

[Middle English, from Latin contingēns, contingent-, present participle of contingere, to touch; see contact.]

con·tin′gent·ly adv.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
Nemesis was a goddess of retribution, but the nemeses of these two styles serve not only as defeats but as self-defeats: for these nemeses are characteristic (essentially or contingently) of each style as it operates in its pure form, deprived of the countervailing pull of its counterpart.
While the question of "translatability" in no way diminishes the strength and importance of Schoppmann's work, I remain troubled by the lack of attention to the various levels of mediation which preceded the publication of this work and am left curious about those nuanced linguistic and corporeal details which, however contingently, help to manifest meaning.
Shares that are issuable for little or no consideration upon the satisfaction of certain conditions (contingently issuable shares) should be considered outstanding common shares and included in the computation of basic EPS as of the date that all necessary conditions have been satisfied.
As they approach crucial design decisions with different sets of interests (scientists want satellites with maximal space for their observational instruments, while engineers eat up that payload space with machinery necessary for getting the whole package off the ground safely and efficiently), participants flexibly and contingently valorize the scientist's "vision" and the engineer's "nuts-and-bolts know-how" in ways that prevent either group from ruling the roost.
So the term 'obvious' is used here as a contingently phrased rhetorical device to undermine the opposition, as is the linked term 'methodological thought disorder'.
What began as tinkering with an obscure device (Reiss, or Knochenhauer spirals) evolved slowly - and contingently - to produce a dipole oscillator and resonator, a source of electric waves whose possible theoretical resonances Hertz only then began to trace.
In her 1988 pathbreaking study, Women and the Public Sphere (curiously never cited by Ozouf), Joan Landes generated an important scholarly debate in this country by maintaining that the Revolution was not simply "contingently" but "essentially masculinist." Ozouf, on the contrary, is out to vindicate the Revolution, its forebears and its agents (for example, Rousseau in Emile, or even the revolutionaries Amar and Chaumette) from this tarnishing accusation.
Professor Rorty peers into the abyss of moral relativism, and shrinks back with an argument for human solidarity in a totalitarian liberal utopia in which everyone thinks as he does, contingently and ironically; in which even `doubts about whether the aims of liberal society were "objective moral values" would seem merely quaint', and where making the charge of relativism would become meaningless because everyone has the same liberal views.
If dualism is false it is contingently false (and if physicalism is true it is contingently true).
When a supervisor or leader contingently rewards a subordinate, he or she conveys several pieces of information to that subordinate.
If all sexuality is perverse (at least contingently so), why then does a reified heterosexuality return as her adversary in the guise of feminist theory?
As Scholes points out, to read any text is to pose and, at least contingently, to answer such questions.