- The definition of contingent is something that depends on something else happening, or something that is possible or by chance.
An example of contingent is the sale of one home going through after the buyer's house is sold; a contingent sale.
- A contingent is defined as a condition that needs to be met in order for something else to happen.
An example of a contingent is a clear termite inspection needed in order for a home sale to close escrow.
- Obs. touching; tangential
- that may or may not happen; possible
- happening by chance; accidental; fortuitous
- unpredictable because dependent on chance
- dependent (on or upon something uncertain); conditional
- Logic true only under certain conditions or in certain contexts; not always or necessarily true
- Philos. not subject to determinism; free
Origin of contingentClassical Latin contingens, present participle of contingere, to touch: see contact
- Now Rare an accidental or chance happening
- a share or quota, as of troops, laborers, delegates, etc.
- a group forming part of a larger group
- Liable but not certain to occur; possible: “All salaries are reckoned on contingent as well as on actual services” ( Ralph Waldo Emerson )
- Dependent on other conditions or circumstances; conditional: arms sales contingent on the approval of Congress. See Synonyms at dependent.
- Happening by or subject to chance or accident; unpredictable: contingent developments that jeopardized the negotiations. See Synonyms at accidental.
- 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.
- An event or condition that is likely but not inevitable.
Origin of contingentMiddle English from Latin contingēns contingent- present participle of contingere to touch ; see contact .
(comparative more contingent, superlative most contingent)
- Possible or liable, but not certain to occur; incidental; casual.
- (with upon) Dependent on something that is undetermined or unknown.
- The success of his undertaking is contingent upon events which he can not control.
- Dependent on something that may or may not occur.
- a contingent estate
- Not logically necessarily true or false.
From Old French contingent, from Medieval Latin contingens (“possible, contingent”), properly present participle of Latin contingere (“to touch, meet, attain to, happen”), from com- (“together”) + tangere (“to touch”).
contingent - Legal Definition
- Possible, but not certain to happen.
- Dependent upon a future event or circumstance that is not certain to happen. See also vested.