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

  • transitive v. To plan with cleverness or ingenuity; devise: contrive ways to amuse the children.
  • transitive v. To invent or fabricate, especially by improvisation: contrived a swing from hanging vines.
  • transitive v. To plan with evil intent; scheme: contrived a plot to seize power.
  • transitive v. To bring about, as by scheming; manage: somehow contrived to get past the guards unnoticed.
  • intransitive v. To form plans or schemes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To form by an exercise of ingenuity; to devise; to plan; to scheme; to plot.
  • v. To invent, to make devices; to form designs especially by improvisation.
  • v. To project, cast, or set forth, as in a projection of light.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To make devices; to form designs; to plan; to scheme; to plot.
  • transitive v. To form by an exercise of ingenuity; to devise; to invent; to design; to plan.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To invent; devise; plan.
  • To manage, by a device, stratagem, plan, or scheme: with an infinitive as object: as, he contrived to gain his point.
  • Synonyms To design, project, plot, concoct, hatch, form, frame, brew.
  • To form schemes or designs; plan; scheme.
  • To wear away; spend.
  • To make out; discover; imagine: as, what had become of him I could not contrive.

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

  • v. put or send forth
  • v. make or work out a plan for; devise
  • v. come up with (an idea, plan, explanation, theory, or principle) after a mental effort


Middle English contreven, from Old French controver, contreuv-, from Medieval Latin contropāre, to compare : Latin com-, com- + Latin tropus, turn, manner, style (from Greek tropos; see trep- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English contreve ("to invent"), Old French controver (French controuver), from trover ("to find") (French trouver). (Wiktionary)



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  • verb: to pull off a plan or scheme, usually through skill or trickery

    Despite a low GPA, he contrived to get into college, going so far as to write his own glowing letters of recommendation.

    This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study

    October 19, 2016

  • August 26, 2013

  • to contrive to do sth, a system, a war, a protest,an explanation,
    How nature always does contrive!

    January 14, 2011