con·trived | \kən-ˈtrīvd \

Definition of contrived 

: having an unnatural or false appearance or quality : artificial, labored a contrived plot

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Movies about teenagers are often filled with contrived excesses, but Mr. Burnham understands that some of the most pronounced extremes — the drama, the comedy, the horror — take place in that lonely room known as our heads. Bo Burnham, New York Times, "Review: All the Feels, Hurts and Laughs of ‘Eighth Grade’," 11 July 2018 The storylines can seem to be a bit contrived but not completely out of place. Mary Cadden, USA TODAY, "'Real Housewives'-type show is star of Jessica Knoll's juicy 'The Favorite Sister'," 14 May 2018 Patterson and Pressler are linchpins of the faith, the duo that—in 1967—first contrived to move Southern Baptists hard right. Virginia Heffernan, WIRED, "ChurchToo and Mike Pence’s Crisis of Faith," 21 June 2018 But the third installment in the series, When Life Gives You Lululemons (Simon & Schuster, 340 pp., ★★ out of four) is, like its main character, more contrived than charming. Mary Cadden, USA TODAY, "'Prada' sequel moves to Greenwich, Conn., bland land of athleisure wear," 5 June 2018 Unfortunately, the movie’s narrative putters on its way, contrived and bumpy but made diverting by performances from the two holdovers from the original film. Peter Keough,, "‘Sicario’ sequel straddles the border," 28 June 2018 His contrived two-step is unpersuasive and untenable. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "The U.S. ambassador in Germany flies the Trumpist flag," 5 June 2018 Every week, the series' six main cast members have engaged in one contrived activity or another. Mike Scott,, "'Southern Charm New Orleans' Episode 7: Or, the one in which Tamica Lee gets served," 29 May 2018 The result: Get-togethers that manage to be both elaborate and understated—and never stuffy or contrived. Rachel Waldman, Vogue, "How LoveShackFancy’s Rebecca Hessel Cohen Readies Her Hamptons Home For Summer Entertaining," 23 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of contrived

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for contrived

see contrive

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about contrived

Statistics for contrived

Last Updated

29 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for contrived

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for contrived



English Language Learners Definition of contrived

: having an unnatural or false appearance or quality

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on contrived

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!