Simple Definition of connive
: to secretly help someone do something dishonest or illegal
Full Definition of connive
1 : to pretend ignorance of or fail to take action against something one ought to oppose <the government connived in the rebels' military buildup>
2 a : to be indulgent or in secret sympathy : wink b : to cooperate secretly or have a secret understanding
Examples of connive in a sentence
<the principal connived at all the school absences that were recorded on the day of the city's celebration of its Super Bowl victory>
<suspects that his coworkers are conniving to get him fired>
Did You Know?
Connive may not seem like a troublesome term, but it was to Wilson Follett, a usage critic who lamented that the word was undone during the Second World War, when restless spirits felt the need of a new synonym for plotting, bribing, spying, conspiring, engineering a coup, preparing a secret attack. Follett thought "connive" should only mean "to wink at" or "to pretend ignorance." Those senses are closer to the Latin ancestor of the word ("connive" comes from the Latin connivēre, which means "to close the eyes" and which is descended from "-nivēre," a form akin to the Latin verb nictare, meaning "to wink"). But many English speakers disagreed, and the "conspire" sense is now the word's most widely used meaning.
Origin of connive
French or Latin; French conniver, from Latin conivēre, connivēre to close the eyes, connive, from com- + -nivēre (akin to nictare to wink); akin to Old English & Old High German hnīgan to bow
First Known Use: 1601
Legal Definition of connive
: to assent knowingly and wrongfully without opposition to another's wrongdoing; specifically : to knowingly consent to a spouse's marital misconduct and esp. to adultery
Origin of connive
Latin con(n)ivere to close one's eyes, knowingly overlook something
Seen and Heard
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