- 1 [countable, uncountable] (usually disapproving) something that someone has done or written that does not seem natural; the fact of seeming artificial The novel is spoiled by unrealistic contrivances of plot. The story is told with a complete absence of contrivance. Examinations are a contrivance to see how a student tackles new problems.
- 2 [countable] a device or tool made for a particular purpose, using skill or imagination His workshop was full of mechanical contrivances.
- 3 [countable, uncountable] a smart plan or trick; the act of using a smart plan or trick an ingenious contrivance to get her to sign the document without reading it