con·​trived kən-ˈtrīvd How to pronounce contrived (audio)
: having an unnatural or false appearance or quality : artificial, labored
a contrived plot

Examples of contrived in a Sentence

… it may remind readers of Christopher Nolan's ingeniously contrived mystery film "Memento" … Joyce Carol Oates, New Yorker, 4 Apr. 2005
The music industry has become far more image conscious and contrived since her first album affected me so profoundly … Lisa Marie Presley, Time, 18 Apr. 2005
There are some who scorn that sterling art form, the afternoon soap opera, alleging that its characters are unbelievable, its plots contrived and its action negligible. Lydel Sims, Assignment: Memphis, 1982
The movie's contrived ending was a big disappointment. The results of the test seemed somewhat contrived.
Recent Examples on the Web Then in 1994, Shor read a paper by the computer scientist Daniel Simon that showed how to exploit quantum superposition to solve a contrived problem. Ben Brubaker, Quanta Magazine, 17 Oct. 2023 Sure, the framing device, involving a P.I. (Kevin Kline) and an angel of death (Virginia Madsen), is a little contrived, and Garrison Keillor’s avuncular drawl may ring false to today’s ears. August Brown, Los Angeles Times, 13 Oct. 2023 Related: Commissioner Adam Silver has the NBA thriving, with a new CBA, rich television deal, and perhaps expansion Silver said these rules were a byproduct of teams and players hindering the fan experience with random contrived injuries. Gary Washburn,, 16 Sep. 2023 If the premise initially seems a bit contrived, any awkwardness melts away as the walls between Luke and Aysha do. Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Sep. 2023 At its San Diego Opera premiere last fall, Frank’s score displayed a winning vibrancy that overcame the more contrived aspects of Nilo Cruz’s libretto. Deborah Vankin, Los Angeles Times, 1 Sep. 2023 Much as the BFFs would like to reconcile and support each other on their special days, a series of setbacks, especially an overly contrived bit involving Lydia’s bat-mitzvah entrance video, keep them at odds. Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, 25 Aug. 2023 But in a world where social media users can see right through a contrived advertising campaign, that kind of parasocial bond can’t be forced. Time, 16 Aug. 2023 Being trapped in a room with unpleasant characters in a contrived drama that wants to have its genre thrills and Important Message too. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 5 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'contrived.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see contrive

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of contrived was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near contrived

Cite this Entry

“Contrived.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

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