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[kuh n-trahy-vuh ns] /kənˈtraɪ vəns/
something contrived; a device, especially a mechanical one.
the act or manner of contriving; the faculty or power of contriving.
a plan or scheme; expedient.
Origin of contrivance
1620-30; contrive + -ance
Related forms
noncontrivance, noun
precontrivance, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for contrivance
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Now seest thou not, how many good ends this contrivance answers?

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • This expedition up the mountain was entirely of his contrivance.

    The Miraculous Pitcher Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Till the next morning, however, she was not aware of all the felicity of her contrivance.

    Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
  • The contrivance, if a contrivance, to get me away, so insolently mean!

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • There seems to have been some doubt, for a time, as to whether the contrivance could be made to work.

    In the Days of Poor Richard Irving Bacheller
  • Then he began to experiment, with some rude apparatus of his own contrivance.

    Self-Help Samuel Smiles
  • A contrivance, by means of immersing a sail, to diminish the drift of a ship during a gale of wind.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • It was by his contrivance the girl had been sent from India.

    Henry Dunbar M. E. Braddon
  • The man was opening the door with one hand while he kept me covered with the other, and he got the contrivance fairly in the face.

    Greenmantle John Buchan
British Dictionary definitions for contrivance


something contrived, esp an ingenious device; contraption
the act or faculty of devising or adapting; inventive skill or ability
an artificial rather than natural selection or arrangement of details, parts, etc
an elaborate or deceitful plan or expedient; stratagem
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
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Word Origin and History for contrivance

1620s, from contrive + -ance.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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