contrivance meaning

A contrivance is a gadget or device that can be used for some particular purpose. The spinning blade of a blender is a contrivance that turns fruits and yogurt into a tasty smoothie. Yum.

A contrivance is a useful device or tool. It might be assembled or invented, and it’s often mechanical, although you can really refer to anything that’s made for a specific purpose as a contrivance. The word sometimes also implies a falseness or obviousness, like the contrivance of a spy’s very fake-looking beard that’s supposed to disguise him, or the contrivance of a novel’s complicated, unbelievable plot.

Definitions of contrivance
  1. noun

    the faculty of contriving; inventive skill

    “his skillful
    contrivance of answers to every problem”
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    type of:

    conception, design, excogitation, innovation, invention

    the creation of something in the mind
  2. noun

    the act of devising something


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    type of:


    the act of inventing
  3. noun

    a device or control that is very useful for a particular job

    appliance, contraption, convenience, gadget, gismo, gizmo, widget

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    appliances collectively

    an appliance that allows an object (such as a ship’s compass) to remain horizontal even as its support tips

    a contrivance for injecting (e.g., water into the boiler of a steam engine or particles into an accelerator etc.)
    mod con

    modern convenience; the appliances and conveniences characteristic of a modern house

    type of:


    an instrumentality invented for a particular purpose
  4. noun

    any improvised arrangement for temporary use


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    patch, temporary hookup

    a connection intended to be used for a limited time

    type of:


    an orderly grouping (of things or persons) considered as a unit; the result of arranging
  5. noun

    an artificial or unnatural or obviously contrived arrangement of details or parts etc.

    “the plot contained too many improbable
    contrivances to be believable”
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    type of:

    arrangement, organisation, organization, system

    an organized structure for arranging or classifying
  6. noun

    an elaborate or deceitful scheme contrived to deceive or evade

    “his testimony was just a
    contrivance to throw us off the track”

    dodge, stratagem

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    something planted secretly for discovery by another
    pump-and-dump scheme

    an illegal scheme for making money by manipulating stock prices; the schemer persuades other people to buy the stock and then sells it himself as soon as the price of the stock rises
    wangle, wangling

    an instance of accomplishing something by scheming or trickery

    type of:

    scheme, strategy

    an elaborate and systematic plan of action
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