contraption

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noun con·trap·tion \kən-ˈtrap-shən\

Definition of contraption

contraption was our Word of the Day on 09/18/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of contraption in a Sentence

  1. The people wondered how the contraption worked.

  2. built a contraption for automatically buttering toast

Recent Examples of contraption from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contraption.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

What Exactly is a contraption?

English has a number of words that can be used as general terms for mechanical or electronic devices, including gadget, gizmo, widget, and contraption. In addition to their meaning, these four words also have a couple of other things in common. First, they are all relative newcomers to the language. The oldest, contraption, entered the language around 1825. Second, the origins of all four are a bit of a mystery (well, widget is believed to be an alteration of gadget, but the origins of gadget are unknown-it didn't appear in print until 1886, but is believed to have been used among sailors perhaps as far back as the mid-1800s). Contraption, may be a blend of contrivance (which can be used as another synonym of gadget), trap, and invention.

Origin and Etymology of contraption

perhaps blend of contrivance, trap, and invention


CONTRAPTION Defined for English Language Learners

contraption

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noun

Definition of contraption for English Language Learners

  • : a piece of equipment or machinery that is unusual or strange


CONTRAPTION Defined for Kids

contraption

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noun con·trap·tion \kən-ˈtrap-shən\

Definition of contraption for Students

  1. :  gadget



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