Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The act of contriving.
  • noun The state of being contrived.
  • noun Something contrived, as a mechanical device or a clever plan.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The act of contriving, inventing, devising, or planning the disposition or combination of things or acts, for a particular purpose.
  • noun The thing contrived, planned, or invented; a device, especially a mechanical one; an artifice; a scheme; a stratagem.
  • noun Synonyms 2. Plan, invention, design; machination, stratagem; Device, Shift, etc. See expedient, n.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The act or faculty of contriving, inventing, devising, or planning.
  • noun The thing contrived, invented, or planned; disposition of parts or causes by design; a scheme; plan; artifice; arrangement.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun a (mechanical) device to perform a certain task
  • noun a means, such as an elaborate plan or strategy, to accomplish a certain objective
  • noun something overly artful or artificial

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an elaborate or deceitful scheme contrived to deceive or evade
  • noun an artificial or unnatural or obviously contrived arrangement of details or parts etc.
  • noun any improvised arrangement for temporary use
  • noun the faculty of contriving; inventive skill
  • noun the act of devising something
  • noun a device or control that is very useful for a particular job

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

contrive +‎ -ance

Examples

  • When the level of narrative contrivance is such that anything can happen or be forgotten in the space of a week, then nothing matters.

    MIND MELD: If We Ran Battlestar Galactica

  • The contrivance is seen to hold a function, and it is recognized by its inherent design.

    Ambiguity Tolerance

  • A contrivance is some abstract contortion that is said to describe reality, except that the contrivance comes with a felt emotionality that may invite deeper revelation, or the emotionality may come off as deceptive.

    Ambiguity Tolerance

  • Although the Down East accents of the lyrics are a Hammerstein contrivance, the setting is harshly realistic in ways we tend to forget, perhaps because we usually think of Maine as a scenic travel destination.

    Out of Our Dreams

  • Although the Down East accents of the lyrics are a Hammerstein contrivance, the setting is harshly realistic in ways we tend to forget, perhaps because we usually think of Maine as a scenic travel destination.

    Out of Our Dreams

  • What else would you call a contrivance that can take you to cities where ancient civilizations once flourished?

    SERPENT

  • What else would you call a contrivance that can take you to cities where ancient civilizations once flourished?

    SERPENT

  • Sir Thomas had indeed proposed to her at the ball, an event which reflected great credit on her mama's sagacity, if not upon her skill in contrivance; I rather incline to the belief that she had first laid her plans, and then predicted their success.

    Agnes Grey

  • The life of this contrivance is short when used in open stopes, owing to the dangers of bombardment from blasting.

    Principles of Mining Valuation, Organization and Administration

  • All mechanical contrivance is habit materialised; it is continued action without any effort of will, except in the beginning.

    Zoe: The History of Two Lives

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