contraption

noun
con·​trap·​tion | \ kən-ˈtrap-shən How to pronounce contraption (audio) \

Definition of contraption

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Synonyms for contraption

Synonyms

appliance, contrivance, gadget, gimmick, gizmo (also gismo), jigger, widget

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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.

Examples of contraption in a Sentence

The people wondered how the contraption worked. built a contraption for automatically buttering toast

Recent Examples on the Web

Wachiwarat Aungsupanith, the 27-year-old CEO of drone-producing company Bug Away, thinks these high-tech contraptions could transform Thai agriculture. Sarah Lazarus And Dan Tham, CNN, "Will drones transform farmers' lives in Thailand?," 3 July 2019 In search of an easier route to lucid dreams, various wearable technology companies have developed contraptions that flash light, vibrate, or play sounds during REM sleep. Achilleas Pavlou, Quartz, "A lucid dream researcher’s tips for controlling your dreams," 29 June 2019 Some opt for mosquito traps, contraptions that entice mosquitoes to lay their eggs in the trap and then kill the larvae. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "Instead of zapping Alaska’s mosquitoes, build a birdhouse," 6 June 2019 Conservation groups like the Hawaii Wildlife Fund have teamed up with universities to develop beach cleaning contraptions that essentially act like a vacuum, sucking up sand and separating out the microplastics. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "Newborn Hawaii beach is already polluted with tiny pieces of plastic," 30 May 2019 The cook can control the beats that guests hear by strategically placing food on the grill grates, and the contraption uses computer vision and machine learning to really elevate the show. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "McCormick unveils all-in-one BBQ grill and DJ mixing station," 21 June 2019 Godfrey got the idea to alter a toy football and add that to the contraption. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al.com, "The ‘other guy’ in an iconic Huntsville band," 18 June 2019 Once the contraption was in place, tilting his wrist up caused his arm to raise, bending at the elbow. San Diego Union-Tribune, "UCSD students restore motion to five-year-old boy’s arms," 15 June 2019 Scientist Carl Watras’ snowshoes are rigged with rubber from bicycle tires to bind the webbed contraptions to his feet. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin has cut mercury pollution of its lakes. Climate change puts those gains at risk.," 14 June 2019

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.

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First Known Use of contraption

circa 1825, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for contraption

perhaps blend of contrivance, trap, and invention

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Statistics for contraption

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for contraption

The first known use of contraption was circa 1825

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More Definitions for contraption

contraption

noun

English Language Learners Definition of contraption

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

contraption

noun
con·​trap·​tion | \ kən-ˈtrap-shən How to pronounce contraption (audio) \

Kids Definition of contraption

: gadget

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More from Merriam-Webster on contraption

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with contraption

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for contraption

Spanish Central: Translation of contraption

Nglish: Translation of contraption for Spanish Speakers

Comments on contraption

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