[kuh n-trap-shuh n]

noun Informal.

a mechanical contrivance; gadget; device.

Origin of contraption

1815–25; perhaps contr(ivance) + (ad)aption, variant of adaptation
Related formscon·trap·tious, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for contraption

Contemporary Examples of contraption

Historical Examples of contraption

  • 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.


    Edna Ferber

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


    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?

British Dictionary definitions for contraption



informal, often facetious, or derogatory a device or contrivance, esp one considered strange, unnecessarily intricate, or improvised

Word Origin for contraption

C19: perhaps from con (trivance) + trap 1 + (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

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