from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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

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

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


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

contrive +‎ -ance


  • 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

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


  • 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

  • The contrivance is wonderful, the design being laid by infinite wisdom; the performance is wonderful, being put in execution by infinite power.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume III (Job to Song of Solomon)

  • Therefore, speculation and conjecture create the contrivance, which is promoted (continuously, mind you) as the controversy, and then wrapped in the 'nobleness' of a conspiracy – period. by

    Swine Flu-- Normal or Malignant?


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