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Definition something that might happen — especially something that it is hoped will not happen

or more rarely:

something available in case of an event — especially an event that it is hoped will not occur
  • I was prepared for that contingency.
contingency = something that might happen
  • We have prepared for all contingencies.
  • contingencies = things that might happen
  • He was employed in a vague personal capacity — while he remained with Cody he was in turn steward, mate, skipper, secretary, and even jailor, for Dan Cody sober knew what lavish doings Dan Cody drunk might soon be about, and he provided for such contingencies by reposing more and more trust in Gatsby.
    F. Scott Fitzgerald  --  The Great Gatsby
  • contingencies = things that might happen
  • The immediate contingency overtook him, pulled him back from the edge of the theoretical abyss.
    F. Scott Fitzgerald  --  The Great Gatsby
  • contingency = thing that might happen
  • No skill of a great sea officer would have availed in such a contingency.
    Conrad, Joseph  --  The Mirror of the Sea
  • Judge Pyncheon's neck is too precious to be risked on such a contingency as a stumbling steed.
    Hawthorne, Nathaniel  --  House Of Seven Gables
  • But this awful contingency I did not face.
    Carroll, Lewis  --  Sylvie and Bruno
  • This contingency of his disobedience had been foreseen...
    Dumas, Alexandre  --  The Man in the Iron Mask
  • That note has been in my pocket since we left New York, to deliver to you in the event of a certain contingency happening.
    Oppenheim, E. Phillips  --  The Illustrious Prince
  • So I had a contingency plan.
    Randy Pausch  --  The Last Lecture
  • They had made plans for this situation, backup plans for every contingency.
    Scott Westerfeld  --  The Secret Hour
  • Westley was always prepared for contingencies, and if he could rescue her at six, he could just as happily rescue her at half past five.
    William Goldman  --  The Princess Bride
  • I wanted to prepare for any contingency, and when everything was finally ready, I signed my will in front of four witnesses.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  The Longest Ride
  • Suddenly, as Tom dwelt fearfully on such contingency, the firing abruptly ceased.
    Zane Grey  --  The Thundering Herd
  • I examined the hole, and I declare it actually looks as though it had been made with a pen-knife, a most improbable contingency.
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky  --  The Idiot
  • I do not suppose these two gentlemen will torture me, but I like to provide for possible contingency with European assistance in emergency.'
    Rudyard Kipling  --  Kim
  • When a situation is full of unpredictables and I am playing makeshift games, I like to provide for as many contingencies as I can.
    Roger Zelazny  --  My Name is Legion
  • How glad and how grateful the relief from this unnatural hallucination of the night, and the fatal contingency of being brought by the lee!
    Herman Melville  --  Moby Dick
  • Visions of several unhappy contingencies which might arise from this delay flitted before him.
    Thomas Hardy  --  Far from the Madding Crowd
  • This contingency Randy had never imagined.
    Pat Frank  --  Alas, Babylon

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