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I've been wondering if there is a word to express that something was current at the time of its creation. It (in bold) should plug-in into a sentence similar to:

The results are based on an analyses that deal with the then-current methods.

As far as I can tell, both "contemporary" and "current" refer to now, whereas I would like to express something was "current" in the past.

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I don't think there's anything wrong with then-current in your example. The only error I can see is that you should either delete the word an, or change the phrase to ...based an analysis that deals with... –  FumbleFingers May 9 '11 at 17:36

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

It's true that current refers to now, but for contemporary and its related terms, such as contemporaneous, this is not true.

It's a false assumption based on the fact that those terms are used now, so you interpret them as now, but they are used now, because if something is contemporaneous (see below for term explanation) it is related to us.

Contemporary, for example, per se means "living or occurring at the same time". There is no actual reference to the present, past or future, but rather to the co-presence, in a given time, with something/someone else.

Same goes for contemporaneous, as stated in the NOAD:

ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from Latin, from con-together with’ + temporaneus (from tempus, tempor- ‘time’ ) + -ous .

Existing or occurring in the same period of time: Pythagoras was contemporaneous with Buddha.

I'm not sure this word still fits in your situation, though, because this term compares two elements.

Do you need a single word or a slightly longer expression is accepted? You can say, for example:

"The results are based on analyses that deal with the methods of that time."

If I come up with something better, I'll edit the answer.


Side Note: By the way, this is the same thing for indigenous. It doesn't mean "being a cavern man/someone living out of society" or something similar.

Indigenous means "originating or occurring naturally in a particular place, native".

So, for example, I'm indigenous to the place I was born in, you are to your place, , etc.

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Thanks :) referred to Wiktionary, which defines contemporary as "1) from the same time period, coexistent in time. 2) modern, of the present age.". The contradiction between "modern" ("museum of contemporary art") and "same (even though past) period of time", plus that fact that I've never seen it in context nr. 2) made me think 1) refers to the same time period as the one I'm in now. Thank you all, and I accept this as the answer. –  Jan Benes May 9 '11 at 18:19

You could try "contemporaneous" if you have other references to a specific period of time.

con·tem·po·ra·ne·ous (kn-tmp-rn-s) adj. Originating, existing, or happening during the same period of time: *the contemporaneous reigns of two monarch*s.

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hmm, wasn't really looking for things that happen at the same period, but rather for things that all happened in the past and were the norm at the time they happened. Sorry if I mislead you. –  Jan Benes May 9 '11 at 18:25

"The results are based on an analyses that deal with the period's methods."

"The results are based on an analyses that deal with past methods."

"The results are based on an analyses that deal with old-fashioned methods."

"The results are based on an analyses that deal with antiquated methods."

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The first is really the only one that gives any indication that they might have been curren at the time of the analysis, but it's pretty weak. –  Matthew Read May 9 '11 at 18:21

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