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contingent +‎ -cy (16th century).


  • IPA(key): /kənˈtɪnd͡ʒənsi/
  • (file)


contingency (countable and uncountable, plural contingencies)

  1. (uncountable) The quality of being contingent, of happening by chance. [from 1560s]
    Synonyms: possibility, unpredictability; see also Thesaurus:option
    Antonyms: inevitability, impossibility
  2. (countable) A possibility; something which may or may not happen. A chance occurrence, especially in finance, unexpected expenses. [from 1610s]
    • 1909, John Claude White, Sikhim and Bhutan, page 29:
      There was also the imperative necessity of creating a reserve fund for unforeseen contingencies, and the question ever present was how was money to be found.
    • 2011 April 30, United States Strategic Command, CONPLAN 8888-11 "COUNTER-ZOMBIE DOMINANCE"[1] (PDF), archived from the original on 15 March 2023, SITUATION:
      In light of the inherent survival threat posed by zombies and absent specified guidance for detailed planning to address such a contingency, USSTRATCOM has taken the initiative to develop a JOPES Level 3 plan (CONPLAN) consistent with guidance derived from other specified planning efforts to ensure U.S. and Allied freedom of action from zombie domination.
  3. (finance, countable) An amount of money which a party to a contract has to pay to the other party (usually the supplier of a major project to the client) if he or she does not fulfill the contract according to the specification.
  4. (logic, countable) A statement which is neither a tautology nor a contradiction.
    Coordinate terms: contradiction, tautology

Derived terms[edit]