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[kuh n-trap-shuh n] /kənˈtræp ʃən/
noun, Informal.
a mechanical contrivance; gadget; device.
Origin of contraption
1815-25; perhaps contr(ivance) + (ad)aption, variant of adaptation
Related forms
contraptious, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for contraption
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But it took ten days to get the contraption ready for the next fizzle.

    The Depot Master Joseph C. Lincoln
  • My children's teeth never had to have all this contraption on them.

    Gigolo Edna Ferber
  • When we find Craven, we'll find the contraption that's blanketing Jupiter and its moons.

    Empire Clifford Donald Simak
  • Go upstairs again, Amy, and haul up this end of the contraption.

  • Wall, stranger, what kind of a contraption do you-all reckon to have thar?

  • And your mother said you shouldn't ever have such a contraption in the house again.

  • Yesterday we could bag them one after the other, as fast as I could fire this contraption.

  • Aw, you don't think you're ever going to get there with that contraption, do you?

    The Pike's Peak Rush Edwin L. Sabin
British Dictionary definitions for contraption


(informal, often facetious or derogatory) a device or contrivance, esp one considered strange, unnecessarily intricate, or improvised
Word Origin
C19: perhaps from con(trivance) + trap1 + (inven)tion
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for contraption

1825, western England dialect, origin obscure, perhaps from con(trive) + trap, or deception.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for contraption



A contrivance or device; piece of machinery: What's this ugly contraption in the corner? (1820s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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