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contrived (adj) artificial; not natural.

When something is planned in advance, say, the way you wish to talk, behave, etc., so that it is not natural or genuine, it is contrived. When your behavior is contrived, it is not natural, but preplanned. It is not your normal behavior. The smile you put on is contrived, if it is not the result of pleasure or joy, but one you have put on just to please others, or to make an impression. A situation in a story, a movie, or a play is contrived if it is arranged or planned in a way that it does not appear natural, or convincing. A play has a contrived ending, if it does not appear realistic or logical.

  • Harry just contrived a smile for appearance's sake when his boss visited him. He was really in no mood to receive the boss with warmth the smile seemed to indicate.
  • The too many coincidences in the play - for example, the hero appearing on the scene just when the villain was about to abduct the heroine, the hero finding a gun ready, the villain weaponless, - all show that the story was contrived, and not at all realistic.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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