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  • Verb




There once was a famous case of baggage handlers who secretly schemed or connived to smuggle illegal green gophers into the luggage of innocent travelers. The conniving baggage handlers at one airport plotted to put the sleeping gophers into marked suitcases. At the receiving end, the other conniving and dishonestly cooperating handlers would look out for the marked luggage pieces and extract the gophers before the pieces of luggage went off to customs to be inspected.

Quiz: When have you connived with someone?

  • When you agree to work together on an upcoming project.
  • When you cooperate with them in an ongoing investigation.
  • When you plot with them to do something against the law.

Memory Hook

Connive Con Men Smuggle Knives Officials connived at the secret conniving of con men smuggling knives because those conniving and corrupt authorities received a percentage of the profit when the conniving con men sold the illegal knives across the border.


  • That, under no circumstances, can any true-hearted abolitionist engaged in or connive at any compromise involving the slightest concession to any pro-slavery requisition. —The New York Times
  • One of Warren’s obsessions in the book, reflected in both movies, is the dilemma that arises when moral people connive with the immoral to try to do good. —Los Angeles Times
  • There is a negligence of the law by national the authorities that are often willing to connive with big companies looking for contracts and deals,' she says. —Newsvine

Word Ingredients

con- thoroughly
niv wink, close the eyes
e used for spelling and pronunciation

When you connive, you “thoroughly wink” or “close the eyes” at something illegal that’s going on.

Word Theater

The Sting Some pretty devious and convincing conniving is going on here!

Word Constellation