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[kuh n-trahyvd] /kənˈtraɪvd/
obviously planned or forced; artificial; strained:
a contrived story.
Origin of contrived
1505-15; contrive + -ed2
Related forms
[kuh n-trahy-vid-lee] /kənˌtraɪ vɪd li/ (Show IPA),
uncontrived, adjective
well-contrived, adjective


[kuh n-trahyv] /kənˈtraɪv/
verb (used with object), contrived, contriving.
to plan with ingenuity; devise; invent:
The author contrived a clever plot.
to bring about or effect by a plan, scheme, or the like; manage:
He contrived to gain their votes.
to plot (evil, treachery, etc.).
verb (used without object), contrived, contriving.
to form designs; plan.
to plot.
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 forms
contrivable, adjective
contriver, noun
precontrive, verb, precontrived, precontriving.
uncontriving, adjective
1. design, concoct. See prepare. 3. conspire, scheme. 5. connive. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for contrived
  • The explanation offered for evolving sleep seem contrived.
  • Concern with appearance, contrived or not, fits with the town's reputation as exclusionary.
  • The funny thing about this photo is that the whole thing is contrived.
  • However, the drawback here is that it could cause players to lose a sense of discovery, or make the experience feel contrived.
  • Everything in the piece is contrived to promote disapproval rather than understanding.
  • He contrived a rollout plan for his online operation that was remarkably akin to the one his brother had used for the superstores.
  • Success, whether real or contrived, makes researchers hubristic and untouchable.
  • As pointed out by others, her argument is contrived.
  • If human ingenuity had not contrived the combustion engine, the polar caps wouldn't be melting today.
  • So in fact the problem has become quite contrived in order to double your odds.
British Dictionary definitions for contrived


obviously planned, artificial, or lacking in spontaneity; forced; unnatural


(transitive) to manage (something or to do something), esp by means of a trick; engineer: he contrived to make them meet
(transitive) to think up or adapt ingeniously or elaborately: he contrived a new mast for the boat
to plot or scheme (treachery, evil, etc)
Derived Forms
contrivable, adjective
contriver, 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
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Word Origin and History for contrived



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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