Vocab from the Headlines: Contemporaneous

James Comey by Mike Licht via Flickr

Photo credit:  Mike Licht via Flickr CC-BY

Last week, as I listened to news reports about former FBI Director James Comey’s Congressional hearings, I heard journalists refer to the “contemporaneous notes” Mr. Comey kept about his meetings with President Trump. The word sounded familiar, but I didn’t exactly know what it meant. I should have – when you break it down to its Latin roots, it makes sense.

Contemporaneous \kən-ˌtem-pə-ˈrā-nē-əs\ adjective from Latin contemporaneus, from com– together + tempor-, tempus time

  • existing, occurring, or originating during the same time; usually used in reference to events

For example,
Contemporaneous reports confirmed that the shooter was in the school building.

I guess the journalists reporting on Comey’s notes believed that he wrote them very close in time to his meetings with President Trump. Read more at Merriam-Webster.

Word Nerd Workout

Can you think of a synonym for contemporaneous? My suggestion: simultaneous.

If you like learning about words, visit Kathy’s blog at Bermuda Onion for Wondrous Words Wednesday.

Thanks for getting nerdy with me today!








Julia Tomiak
I believe in the power of words to improve our lives, and I help people find interesting words to read. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Google+. Member of SCBWI and Wordsmithstudio.org.


  1. It reminds me of the word “extemporaneous,” which I’ve heard often. I take contemporaneous notes when I’m listening to a speaker – I find it helps me stay focused. I wish the schools would teach contemporaneous note-taking better – it’s a valuable skill for students to have.

    1. Very clever, Dean!

      I like this word, Julia, and thought Comey very clever for keeping his contemporaneous notes as the gave him needed credibility! I often keep my own while listening to a speaker or podcast – people are so interesting and constantly fueling the writing! Are you keeping contemporaneous notes while building homes in Tennessee? Possibly difficult…

      1. I am a huge note taker – school board meetings, etc. Taking notes helps me absorb the information and stay awake. Sometimes it’s hard to take contemporaneous notes as I listen to podcasts as I am usually running or cooking when I do. Thank goodness for Evernote – it makes noting easier! No notes taken while building in TN… some photos were taken though! 😉

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