One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A machine or device that appears strange or unnecessarily complicated, and often badly made or unsafe.
device, gadget, apparatus, machine, appliance, mechanism, implement, utensil, invention, contrivanceView synonyms
- ‘Fruit machines used to be pretty simple contraptions, but you'd need a mathematics degree to operate them these days.’
- ‘Bodies were needed to carry the contraption, for it had no wheels.’
- ‘The noisy contraption of an elevator stopped once it reached the bottom of the shaft.’
- ‘People taking rides on giant wheels and similar contraptions should be warned that they are taking a risk.’
- ‘The mechanised contraption rattled its way over the rolling hills.’
- ‘His shoes were strange contraptions bound in metal strips and leather ties.’
- ‘Giant machines and preternatural contraptions can dominate the landscape.’
- ‘Also displayed are two power-gliders, which are two-seater contraptions powered by small engines.’
- ‘Undoubtedly the contraptions and apparatuses in Keaton's films are the basis for his gags.’
- ‘Some of his contraptions do not have steering wheels and he still calls them ‘cars’.’
- ‘For example, the machines might resemble the contraptions used by the state lottery agencies to determine winning numbers.’
- ‘You find strange contraptions made of rubber and metal lying around in the basement.’
- ‘No longer the wooden contraptions of yore, they are powered by large diesel sets.’
- ‘At first, you might think that writing about mechanical contraptions could end up being an extremely boring and dry endeavour.’
- ‘Neither of them wore gear and they were using some sort of strange cardboard contraptions as nets but they were wearing skates and they had sticks in their hands.’
- ‘There are the flying machines and steam contraptions, technology from a fantastic version of the industrial age.’
- ‘A flood light granted sight to the strangest mechanical contraption any of them had ever seen.’
- ‘It was at least twice as big as a normal airplane hangar, with strange looking contraptions flying about.’
- ‘Sadly, none of a myriad of ingenious contraptions, despite inventors' claims, puts forth more energy than it absorbs.’
- ‘It took old-fashioned rocket science to put the contraption into orbit on September 27 last year.’
Early 19th century: perhaps from contrive (on the pattern of pairs such as conceive, conception), by association with trap.
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