[ kuhn-trahyv ]
See synonyms for: contrivecontrivedcontrivingcontrivable on

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.

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

verb (used without object),con·trived, con·triv·ing.
  1. to form designs; plan.

  2. to plot.

Origin of contrive

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”; see trover); development of vowel unclear

synonym study For contrive

1. See prepare.

Other words for contrive

Other words from contrive

  • con·triv·a·ble, adjective
  • con·triv·er, noun
  • pre·con·trive, verb, pre·con·trived, pre·con·triv·ing.
  • un·con·triv·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use contrive in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for contrive


/ (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

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

Origin of contrive

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

Derived forms of contrive

  • contrivable, adjective
  • contriver, noun

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