contrive

verb
con·​trive | \kən-ˈtrīv \
contrived; contriving

Definition of contrive 

transitive verb

1a : devise, plan contrive ways of handling the situation The prisoners contrived a way to escape.

b : to form or create in an artistic or ingenious manner contrived household utensils from stone Native Americans contrived weapons out of stone, wood, and bone.

2 : to bring about by stratagem or with difficulty : manage he contrived to win their support

intransitive verb

: to make schemes

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Other Words from contrive

contriver noun

Examples of contrive in a Sentence

The prisoners contrived a way to escape. He contrived a meeting with the president.

Recent Examples on the Web

Such theatrical devices are nothing new, and the multiple shifts and meetings between timelines could easily seem clichéd or contrived if not for the smooth, almost dispassionate way Fox handles them. Robert Lloyd, latimes.com, "Director Jennifer Fox has turned the pain and confusion of childhood sexual abuse into ‘The Tale’," 25 May 2018 Hackers briefly took control of the website of Qatar’s official news agency last summer, and posted a false account of a speech by the emir that appeared contrived to irk the Arab states and Washington. David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, "A Top Trump Fund-Raiser Says Qatar Hacked His Email," 5 Mar. 2018 On May 23, it was ruled that Kicker, 25, was guilty of contriving the outcome of a match at the ATP Challenger tournament in Padova, Italy, in June 2015 and a match at the ATP Challenger tournament in Baranquilla, Colombia, in September 2015. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "Mailbag: Grass Court Season, Equal Pay and the Fed-Rafa Documentary," 20 June 2018 Still, even with the favorable air and contrived setting of a pro day, there were subtle gasps from scouts and coaches observing Allen. Andy Benoit, SI.com, "Josh Allen: What He Could Be, and What He Is Now," 10 Apr. 2018 And yet there remains a level of frustration that feels outsized; perhaps even contrived. Marcus Hayes, Philly.com, "Philly sports fans should enjoy the ride | Marcus Hayes," 13 May 2018 Eventually the craft does take off, but never leaves the atmosphere, the better to contrive a parachute-free falling stunt for the big finish. New York Times, "Review: Jackie Chan Battles a Goofy Plot in ‘Bleeding Steel’," 5 July 2018 Despite its occasionally melodramatic and contrived plot elements, the screenplay co-written by Vranik and Ivan Szabo never succumbs to bathos. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Citizen': Film Review," 5 July 2018 Moments like that, in which semi-surreal details are happened upon rather than contrived, demonstrate Van Sant at his most easeful, and the languor is sustained by Jonah Hill, as Donnie, a rich and sickly soul who becomes John’s A.A. sponsor. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Gus Van Sant’s Semi-Surreal “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot”," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contrive.' 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 contrive

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for contrive

Middle English controven, contreven, from Anglo-French controver, contrever, from Medieval Latin contropare to compare, from Latin com- + Vulgar Latin *tropare to compose, find — more at troubadour

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Statistics for contrive

Last Updated

26 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for contrive

The first known use of contrive was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for contrive

contrive

verb

English Language Learners Definition of contrive

: to form or think of (a plan, method, etc.)

: to form or make (something) in a skillful or clever way

: to make (something) happen in a clever way or with difficulty

contrive

verb
con·​trive | \kən-ˈtrīv \
contrived; contriving

Kids Definition of contrive

1 : plan entry 2 sense 1, plot We must contrive a way to escape.

2 : to form or make in some skillful or clever way He contrived a small pipe out of the piece of wood.

3 : to manage to bring about or do She contrived to get there on time.

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Comments on contrive

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