verb (used without object), con·nived, con·niv·ing.

to cooperate secretly; conspire (often followed by with): They connived to take over the business.
to avoid noticing something that one is expected to oppose or condemn; give aid to wrongdoing by forbearing to act or speak (usually followed by at): The policeman connived at traffic violations.
to be indulgent toward something others oppose or criticize (usually followed by at): to connive at childlike exaggerations.

Origin of connive

1595–1605; (< French conniver) < Latin co(n)nīvēre to close the eyes in sleep, turn a blind eye, equivalent to con- con- + -nīvēre, akin to nictāre to blink (cf. nictitate)
Related formscon·niv·er, nouncon·niv·ing·ly, adverbun·con·nived, adjectiveun·con·niv·ing, adjective
Can be confusedconnive conspire

Synonyms for connive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for conniving

Contemporary Examples of conniving

Historical Examples of conniving

  • We shall never cast out the devil while conniving at his crimes.

    Broken Bread

    Thomas Champness

  • He was accused of conniving at the attempt of the king and queen to escape.


    Martha Foote Crow

  • It never struck him that he was conniving at fraud; if it had, he would not have been deterred.

  • She felt that she had been conniving in one of the spy-plots that all the Empire was talking about.

    The Cup of Fury

    Rupert Hughes

  • This seems strikingly true in our conniving at the faults of our children.

British Dictionary definitions for conniving


verb (intr)

to plot together, esp secretly; conspire
(foll by at) law to give assent or encouragement (to the commission of a wrong)
Derived Formsconniver, nounconnivingly, adverb

Word Origin for connive

C17: from French conniver, from Latin connīvēre to blink, hence, leave uncensured; -nīvēre related to nictāre to wink
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

Word Origin and History for conniving

1783, present participle adjective from connive. Earlier in this sense was connivent.



c.1600, from Latin connivere, also conivere "to wink," hence, "to wink at (a crime), be secretly privy," from com- "together" (see com-) + base akin to nictare "to wink," from PIE root *kneigwh- (see nictitate). Related: Connived; conniving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper