contrive +‎ -ance


  • IPA(key): /kənˈtɹaɪ.vəns/
  • (file)


contrivance (plural contrivances)

  1. A (mechanical) device to perform a certain task.
  2. A means, such as an elaborate plan or strategy, to accomplish a certain objective.
    • 1842, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Lady Anne Granard, volume 1, page 208:
      I mean to give something as slight and inexpensive as possible; but I have been so long out of the way of these things, that I am really quite at a loss, and must throw myself on your kindness, as I hope you will be with me, and also Mr. and Mrs. Gooch. You must arrange in such a manner as not to blush for your own contrivances.
    • 2005, Plato, Sophist. Translation by Lesley Brown. 266b.
      And along with each of these go their images, not the things themselves, — they too have come about by godlike contrivance.
  3. Something overly artful or artificial.


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