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[kuh n-trahy-vuh ns] /kənˈtraɪ vəns/
something contrived; a device, especially a mechanical one.
the act or manner of contriving; the faculty or power of contriving.
a plan or scheme; expedient.
Origin of contrivance
First recorded in 1620-30; contrive + -ance
Related forms
noncontrivance, noun
precontrivance, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for contrivance
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This expedition up the mountain was entirely of his contrivance.

    The Miraculous Pitcher Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The contrivance, if a contrivance, to get me away, so insolently mean!

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • Then he began to experiment, with some rude apparatus of his own contrivance.

    Self-Help Samuel Smiles
  • It was by his contrivance the girl had been sent from India.

    Henry Dunbar M. E. Braddon
  • Please, however, to note the contrivance which I adopt whenever I am in a difficulty of this sort.

    Cratylus Plato
  • And by what like contrivance would you have me catch my lovers?

    The Memorabilia Xenophon
  • In its present form it is the offspring of the art and contrivance of man.

  • contrivance—that most belauded phenomenon in Nature's craft—was everywhere.

    Confessions Of Con Cregan Charles James Lever
  • And so comes now a contrivance for holding the spindle in this position.

    The Story of the Cotton Plant Frederick Wilkinson
British Dictionary definitions for contrivance


something contrived, esp an ingenious device; contraption
the act or faculty of devising or adapting; inventive skill or ability
an artificial rather than natural selection or arrangement of details, parts, etc
an elaborate or deceitful plan or expedient; stratagem
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 contrivance

1620s, from contrive + -ance.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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