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

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

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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  • August 26, 2013

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

    January 14, 2011