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contrive

[kuhn-trahyv]
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verb (used with object), con·trived, con·triv·ing.
  1. to plan with ingenuity; devise; invent: The author contrived a clever plot.
  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.).
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verb (used without object), con·trived, con·triv·ing.
  1. to form designs; plan.
  2. to plot.
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Origin of contrive

1275–1325; Middle English contreven < Middle French contreuv-, tonic stem of controver to devise, invent, Old French: to decide, agree upon < Late Latin contropāre to compare, equivalent to con- con- + *tropāre (> French trouver to find; see trover); development of vowel unclear
Related formscon·triv·a·ble, adjectivecon·triv·er, nounpre·con·trive, verb, pre·con·trived, pre·con·triv·ing.un·con·triv·ing, adjective

Synonyms

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1. design, concoct. See prepare. 3. conspire, scheme. 5. connive.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

improvise, concoct, fabricate, devise, manipulate, manufacture, plot, fashion, handle, form, formulate, make, move, construct, project, vamp, wangle, plan, frame, hatch

Examples from the Web for contrive

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • You little witch, how did you contrive to make a fool of a man like me!

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • "That's all right," Garson replied, with such carelessness of manner as he could contrive.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • There is no doubt, replied Altamont, of its utility; but how would you contrive to make it?

    The Field of Ice

    Jules Verne

  • What a vast deal of work you do contrive to cut out for yourself.

  • If you, Mr. Temple, can contrive to pass this week at Mr. Percy's, let me not detain you.


British Dictionary definitions for contrive

contrive

verb
  1. (tr) to manage (something or to do something), esp by means of a trick; engineerhe contrived to make them meet
  2. (tr) to think up or adapt ingeniously or elaboratelyhe contrived a new mast for the boat
  3. to plot or scheme (treachery, evil, etc)
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Derived Formscontrivable, adjectivecontriver, noun

Word Origin

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
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 contrive

v.

early 14c., from Old French controver (Modern French controuver) "to find out, contrive, imagine," from Late Latin contropare "to compare" (via a figure of speech), from Latin com- "with" (see com-) + tropus "song, musical mode," from Greek tropos "figure of speech" (see trope).

Sense evolution (in French) was from "invent with ingenuity" to "invent falsely." Spelled contreve until unexplained 15c. sound change that also affected briar, friar, choir. Related: Contrived; contriving.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper