AskDefine | Define contrivance

Dictionary Definition



1 a device that is very useful for a particular job [syn: appliance, contraption, convenience, gadget, gizmo, gismo, widget]
2 the faculty of contriving; inventive skill; "his skillful contrivance of answers to every problem"
3 an elaborate or deceitful scheme contrived to deceive or evade; "his testimony was just a contrivance to throw us off the track" [syn: stratagem, dodge]
4 an artificial or unnatural or obviously contrived arrangement of details or parts etc.; "the plot contained too many improbable contrivances to be believable"
5 any improvised arrangement for temporary use [syn: lash-up]
6 the act of devising something [syn: devisal]

User Contributed Dictionary



See etymology of "to contrive".


  1. a (mechanical) device to perform a certain task
  2. a means, such as an elaborate plan or strategy, to accomplish a certain objective
    • 2005, Plato, Sophist. Translation by Lesley Brown. 266b.
      And along with each of these go their images, not the things themselves, — they too have come about by godlike contrivance.
  3. something overly artful or artificial

Usage notes

See usage note at device.


a (mechanical) device to perform a certain task
  • German: Vorrichtung
a means, such as an elaborate plan plan or strategy, to accomplish a certain objective
  • German: Vorrichtung, Erfindung
something overly artful or artificial

Related terms

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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