contraption

play
noun con·trap·tion \kən-ˈtrap-shən\

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

Did You Know?

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


First Known Use: circa 1825


CONTRAPTION Defined for English Language Learners

contraption

play
noun con·trap·tion \kən-ˈtrap-shən\

Definition of contraption for English Language Learners

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


CONTRAPTION Defined for Kids

contraption

play
noun con·trap·tion \kən-ˈtrap-shən\

Definition of contraption for Students

  1. :  gadget



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up contraption? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

capable of being understood in two ways

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ