[kuh n-trahy-vuh ns]


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 formsnon·con·triv·ance, nounpre·con·triv·ance, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for contrivance

Contemporary Examples of contrivance

Historical Examples of contrivance

  • 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.


    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.

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

Word Origin and History for contrivance

1620s, from contrive + -ance.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper