View synonyms for contrive


[ kuhn-trahyv ]

verb (used with object)

, con·trived, con·triv·ing.
  1. to plan with ingenuity; devise; invent:

    The author contrived a clever plot.

    Synonyms: concoct, design

  2. to bring about or effect by a plan, scheme, or the like; manage:

    He contrived to gain their votes.

  3. to plot (evil, treachery, etc.).

    Synonyms: scheme, conspire

verb (used without object)

, con·trived, con·triv·ing.
  1. to form designs; plan.
  2. to plot.

    Synonyms: connive


/ kənˈtraɪv /


  1. tr to manage (something or to do something), esp by means of a trick; engineer

    he contrived to make them meet

  2. tr to think up or adapt ingeniously or elaborately

    he contrived a new mast for the boat

  3. to plot or scheme (treachery, evil, etc)

Discover More

Derived Forms

  • conˈtrivable, adjective
  • conˈtriver, noun

Discover More

Other Words From

  • con·triva·ble adjective
  • con·triver noun
  • precon·trive verb precontrived precontriving
  • uncon·triving adjective

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of contrive1

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English contreven, from Middle French contreuv-, tonic stem of controver “to devise, invent,” Old French: “to decide, agree upon,” from Late Latin contropāre “to compare,” equivalent to con- con- + (unattested) tropāre (becoming French trouver “to find”; trover ); development of vowel unclear

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of contrive1

C14: from Old French controver, from Late Latin contropāre to represent by figures of speech, compare, from Latin com- together + tropus figure of speech, trope

Discover More

Synonym Study

See prepare.

Discover More

Example Sentences

There was nothing contrived about the celebrations that greeted the news of the President’s intervention.

From Time

Many conversations feel rehearsed, and many gatherings appear contrived to bring characters into conflict.

From Time

This app got me thinking about how contrived all of our units of measurement are, but how they seem to make sense when we apply them to the correct things.

In ancient Sparta, the lawgiver Lycurgus had contrived to make his constitution permanently unamendable.

From Time

Yet he never met her, even when it would have been easy to contrive an encounter.

There are thousands of ways to contrive a weapon that's at least as dangerous a two-inch hobby knife.

He must contrive to keep his family alive as he strategizes.

The Republicans contrive new ways every day to get less popular.

That made me think, maybe they can contrive to do something similar on the mandate.

Everybody understands that politicians contrive photo opportunities in which they can perform "care" and "concern."

If any one of the parts should be lost or broken, it would require some ability in that country to contrive a substitute.

You generally contrive to make yourself useful to your father in one way or another.

I knew too well that if I took any legal measures, he would contrive to shift the whole burden of lunacy upon me.

The cabin instantly obeyed them, and they having entered it began to consult how they should contrive to live there.

Our great object was, as the reader will naturally suppose, to contrive some way of escape.


Word of the Day


[ak-suh-lot-l ]

Meaning and examples

Start each day with the Word of the Day in your inbox!

By clicking "Sign Up", you are accepting Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policies.