What is the meaning of ?

cunningly contrived

whereas contrived means forcefully and cunning means attractive.

Source: The sentence came from Question 2 on this GRE practice question.

2. We were not fooled by his (i)____ arguments; his plan was (ii)____. That even he was (iii)____ by his own reasoning was apparent from his unenthusiastic demeanor.

One of the possible answers for (ii) is cunningly contrived.

  • 2
    Contrived is not a form of contrite; neither word means forcefully. Cunning does not mean attractive. I think you should look up cunning and contrive in a dictionary.
    – user230
    Sep 21, 2013 at 21:18
  • 1
    sorry I have miss typed
    – user2378
    Sep 21, 2013 at 21:29
  • Can you please provide more context to this question, including what the dictionary says about "cunning" and "contrived" and what you don't understand about it? As it stands we can't really give you anything that a dictionary couldn't answer just as fully, and that is off-topic (see meta here).
    – Matt
    Sep 21, 2013 at 21:56

1 Answer 1


The word cunning in this context means deceitful or dishonest. A cunningly contrived argument would be one where someone was arguing about something by twisting the facts and being more dishonest than straightforward.

Even though OneLook shows cunning as meaning artful or attractive, the meaning you really want for this context is Collins Def. #1:

crafty and shrewd, esp. in deception; sly

In the test question, cunningly contrived would be a much better answer than clearly brilliant, but it's still inferior to obviously untenable.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .