Meaning of contingent in English:


Pronunciation /kənˈtɪn(d)ʒ(ə)nt/

See synonyms for contingent

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  • 1Subject to chance.

    ‘the contingent nature of the job’
    • ‘The subject is a historically contingent effect, but to see ourselves as purely victims of historical and spatial imperatives is to limit our understanding of what it is to be human.’
    • ‘That the emotions have a history implies that subjects are historically contingent and open to the possibility that they are hence culturally determined.’
    • ‘In turn, articulating cultural practices of the subjects so constituted mark contingent collective ‘histories’ with variable new meanings.’
    • ‘Such exploration calls for a theory of the subject as a contingent psychocultural construct implicated in the visual sign.’
    • ‘They are contingent and subject to error and influence like any other form of knowledge.’
    • ‘Now the works of men are contingent, as being subject to free choice.’
    • ‘Yes, hard work is important but people are afraid to admit how contingent they are on chance and luck.’
    • ‘It is not a mere question of genetics; heritage is not simply the legacy of blood-relations, but of a multiple and contingent nature.’
    • ‘In any case, it fully confirms it as concerns one essential point, what I have called the contingent nature of society and the attendant pathos.’
    • ‘Most of our doors are double locked as though to emphasize the contingent nature of dwelling.’
    • ‘Both artists acknowledged the contingent nature of the exhibition and their material relationship to the site itself, in these days an exemplary act of formal courtesy.’
    • ‘From this vantage point, the unfolding of life can be viewed as a tapestry in which every new thread is contingent upon the nature, timing, and interweaving of virtually all previous threads.’
    • ‘The era Gill refers to as ‘colonial’ has both a more extended temporal continuity and a more contingent nature.’
    • ‘Too, in the casual encounter that may turn into commitment, the contingent nature of existence can be clearly shown.’
    • ‘The Convention points to the primacy of children's rights over parental rights and to the contingent nature of parental rights.’
    • ‘Painters, we have seen, evinced a new sensitivity to the contingent nature of their means of expression.’
    • ‘As a rule, Leibniz emphasized the certainty of his metaphysical principles rather than the contingent nature of empirical knowledge.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, little comment on the subject in political debate deals with these contingent matters.’
    • ‘Where protest embodies an actual challenge to the stability of government power or ruling social elites, the contingent nature of that right emerges.’
    • ‘The postmodern perspective, on the other hand, views the movement of historical time to be radically contingent and unpredictable.’
    chance, accidental, fortuitous, possible, unforeseen, unforeseeable, unexpected, unpredicted, unpredictable, unanticipated, unlooked-for
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    1. 1.1(of losses, liabilities, etc.) that can be anticipated to arise if a particular event occurs.
      ‘Evaluating a company's debt, acquisitions, working capital, contingent liabilities and other accounting intricacies will help spot trouble ahead.’
      • ‘So the Fund's objection was largely a technicality, because the assets and contingent liabilities of the whole of the public sector remained unchanged.’
      • ‘No deduction is given for contingent liabilities until they crystallise.’
      • ‘The set-off clause precludes the withdrawals of amounts standing to the customer's credit as long as this liability is contingent.’
      • ‘Another important area of concern to fiduciary investors is information transparency, in particular contingent liabilities.’
      • ‘The extent of the tax difficulties will be established and the sellers will have to provide warranties to the purchasers to cover the contingent liabilities.’
      • ‘The contingent liability has now crystallised into a €113 million charge in the profit and loss account.’
      • ‘If the potential liability is material enough it will have to be disclosed in notes in the company's accounts as a contingent liability.’
      • ‘Look closely at contingent liabilities, which will be listed in the notes to the accounts.’
      • ‘An option is a future contingent liability whose present value can be estimated with a series of probabilistic and economic assumptions.’
      • ‘A guarantee, he asserted is a contingent liability on the Consolidated Fund.’
      • ‘They paid about $5 million for the assets, but there was a contingent liability on the books for redundancy of $35 million.’
      • ‘Such a contingent process may or may not be inefficient and there is nothing that guarantees a particular outcome.’
      • ‘They also recommended the issuance of a policy letter instructing award-fee officials to commit funds as contingent liabilities when evaluation periods begin.’
      • ‘The outstanding leave entitlement is absolutely crippling that organisation, and because of this nonsense its contingent liability has just gone through the roof.’
      • ‘So the recognition of contingent liabilities in a company's bank account is to create a fund; is that the proposition?’
      • ‘That will remove a huge contingent liability on the banking system.’
      • ‘Was there any evidence of any actual, as opposed to contingent liability?’
      • ‘I do not award damages under the heading of contingent liability for refunds.’
      • ‘The contingent liability remaining on these open years of account is incalculable.’
    2. 1.2Philosophy True by virtue of the way things in fact are and not by logical necessity.
      ‘that men are living creatures is a contingent fact’
      • ‘Thus a reference to a singular contingent fact to explain why you never succeed in killing your younger self seems not to fulfil the requirement of being an explanation.’
      • ‘That stones released near the surface of the Earth invariably travel downwards is a contingent fact that could conceivably have been otherwise.’
      • ‘For example, it is necessarily true that all ravens can be black, but it is only a matter of contingent fact that all ravens examined have been black.’
      • ‘But these merely contingent facts have no bearing on the question of whether the paradox has any logical force.’
      • ‘How might a contingent fact be known on the basis of nothing empirical?’
      • ‘Even the notions we perceive as a priori true may be contingent upon our perceptual framework.’
      • ‘That this is the medium of philosophy is not just a contingent fact about philosophy.’
      • ‘It was a contingent fact - not an a priori truth - that they were not.’
      • ‘Explanations of the origins of capitalism have thus far taken its advent in Western Europe as a given rather than a contingent fact to be explained.’
      • ‘Where are the historical and contingent facts?’
      • ‘For Zahar, the apparent difference between mass and energy arises from the contingent fact that our senses perceive mass and energy differently.’
      • ‘For Pelagius, sin and evil were a contingent, non-necessary fact.’
      • ‘Hence, God is a logically contingent being and so could have not-existed.’
      • ‘Claims to the effect that actual people know actual facts about the world are contingent propositions about the world.’
      • ‘For some of those who deny dualism and uphold monism claim that their monism is a contingent truth: that it is true, but it might not have been.’
      • ‘We use them in arguing from contingent premises about which we are often less than completely certain.’
      • ‘The connections are of logical entailment rather than contingent association.’
      • ‘For example, ‘Unicorns exist’ is a contingent proposition.’
      • ‘The empirical and contingent conditions of effective agency set the terms of permissibility because it is through effective agency that autonomy is expressed (made real).’
      • ‘And since this law must have no content provided by sense or desire, or any other contingent aspect of our situation, it must be universal.’
  • 2contingent on/uponOccurring or existing only if (certain circumstances) are the case; dependent on.

    ‘his fees were contingent on the success of his search’
    • ‘Thus the truth we establish is contingent on the circumstances.’
    • ‘Whether the net effect is to maintain existing cell size, increase it or reduce it is not part of the theory, but contingent on ecological circumstances.’
    • ‘Although such a strategy is undoubtedly conceptually attractive, it appears likely that its value in a given circumstance will be contingent on several factors.’
    • ‘Our Army's battlefield success is contingent on the right information reaching the right soldier at the right time.’
    • ‘The only thing the lawyer can make contingent on the success of the suit is her fee.’
    dependent, conditional
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  • 1A group of people sharing a common feature, forming part of a larger group.

    ‘a contingent of Japanese businessmen attending a conference’
    • ‘The new film is likely to be set before the Second World War, and could feature a strong contingent of British stars.’
    • ‘The accompanying exhibition will feature the strongest-ever contingent of Scots games producers.’
    • ‘The rest of the piece featured the Royal contingent.’
    • ‘Too often, sales would close a major deal with a customer contingent on a feature that engineering had dropped from the release a month before.’
    • ‘But it was not to be for the Paisley contingent, who had more than their fair share of them last time around.’
    • ‘One of the biggest contingents was the 20,000 delegates registered by 3,000 non-governmental organisations from 120 states.’
    • ‘Now, the boy, little older than Naoise, seemed adventurous and a little rouge, his eyes darting over all in the male contingent of the party, but settling most of all on Naoise.’
    • ‘Culturally, the Polish contingent has held tightly to its folk and national roots, making Polonia more than simply a name.’
    • ‘The largest number of vendors and the largest contingent of delegates should have been a dynamite combination.’
    • ‘With 18 entries, swimmers form the largest contingent in the delegation.’
    • ‘There is also a strong contingent of delegates from South Africa and Unesco.’
    • ‘The band has also led Laois contingents through the streets of London and Birmingham on the national saint's day.’
    • ‘The contingents of Bhutan, Bangladesh and Pakistan also presented cultural items on the occasion.’
    • ‘While the pace contingent is threadbare, the spin section is overmanned.’
    • ‘Teams from over 60 nations will converge on Paris this week, including the highly-rated South African, Canadian, American and Australian contingents.’
    • ‘It is generally believed that 16, 175 Australians fought in the Boer War, though this does not allow for double-counting of those who served in two contingents.’
    • ‘My general sense of the conference so far is of two colliding contingents, the techies (who are all over the technology aspect of blogging), and the writers.’
    • ‘Most Olympic contingents include psychologists, masseurs, dietitians and other sport scientists, but only the equestrians boast a couple of veterinarians.’
    • ‘There are ultrareligious enclaves and secular contingents, professionals and blue-collar workers, the politically active and the uninvolved.’
    • ‘It was a psyched crowd watching the American take on the defending champ, with large contingents of both face-painted Americans and Australians cheering on their man.’
    group, party, body, band, set
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    1. 1.1A body of troops or police sent to join a larger force.
      ‘six warships were stationed off the coast with a contingent of 2,000 marines’
      • ‘Courses run by other ministries and agencies train civilian and police specialists for peacekeeping contingents of multinational forces.’
      • ‘The military contingent is assisting the police by providing a secure environment so law and order can be re-established.’
      • ‘Such an army needs to be composed of three elements: garrison troops, mobile contingents, and a central rapid deployment force.’
      • ‘In addition to a full mobilisation of the Berlin police force, extra contingents of police are being drawn from other states in the east and west of the country.’
      • ‘Now, between the Air Force and Army contingents, there are roughly 270 on the books.’
      • ‘The U.S. Marines operate the air-traffic control tower, and a small contingent of U.S. Army troops run the power-production facility.’
      • ‘A team of bomb disposal units and a contingent of police officers arrived on the scene to examine the object.’
      • ‘Orders were given to repair the walls and a contingent of 20,000 troops was sent to confront the enemy.’
      • ‘Poland, which sent a small contingent of troops to fight in the war, will command the north.’
      • ‘Heavy contingent of police and paramilitary forces rushed to the spot.’
      • ‘The South Korean government said it would not be deterred and would send the next contingent of troops as planned.’
      • ‘The commander of the multinational division, incorporating our military contingent, is empowered to ensure tactical interaction with the brigade.’
      • ‘Tribute was also paid to the 67 British dead during a ceremony attended by a contingent of British police officers.’
      • ‘However, when the train pulled into Salisbury, a large contingent of police officers was waiting for it.’
      • ‘A heavy contingent of defence force personnel and special police disaster and reaction units plan to patrol the summit.’
      • ‘Military contingents get down to performing their service duties after main forces complete their deployment in a conflict area.’
      • ‘Specialized units also could be properly structured to include the appropriate contingents of civil affairs, military police, and psychological operations experts.’
      • ‘During foreign invasions integrated contingents of civilian militias and elements of fragmented state armies had fought foreign invaders.’
      • ‘Large police contingents were deployed on the day of the protest.’
      • ‘The deploying contingent includes the commander and the brigade operations command post, which is made up of both soldiers and civilian employees.’
      unit, detail, squad, troop, contingent, outfit, task force, crew, patrol, section, formation
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Late Middle English (in the sense ‘of uncertain occurrence’): from Latin contingere ‘befall’, from con- ‘together with’ + tangere ‘to touch’. The noun sense was originally ‘something happening by chance’, then ‘a person's share resulting from a division, a quota’; the current sense dates from the early 18th century.