I've encountered the word coeval as an adjective to say something like:

"Coeval art didn't care about the author."

If I used this sentence talking about the contemporary art, could I use the word "coeval" in the meaning of "modern"?

  • Contemporary art is not modern art. Coeval is generally used to refer to something that has the same age or date of origin.
    – user5267
    Nov 30, 2016 at 6:44
  • As @AbsoluteBeginner says--informally, "modern" can mean "the present day," but when discussing art, art history, etc. it refers to modernity as a period -- generally the long 19th century, although possibly including early (1500-) or late (20th C) modernity. "Modern" does not continue to the present. Nov 30, 2016 at 7:23

1 Answer 1


'coeval' is a comparative term - it's not anchored to a specific point in history.

For example:

Two stars are thought to be coeval because they have nearly the same mass and brightness.

It doesn't matter that the two stars might be 5 billion years old, it's the fact that they are both 5 billion years old that makes them coeval.

  • Yes. Compare other words that indicate equality: "peer," "identical", "simultaneous," etc. Can officers be peers if they are Lieutenants? Yes. Can colors be identical if they are green? Yes. Can events be simultaneous at 4:30p? Yes. Can things be coeval in the present? Yes. Nov 30, 2016 at 7:38

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