Simple Definition of artifice
: dishonest or insincere behavior or speech that is meant to deceive someone
Examples of artifice in a sentence
He spoke without artifice or pretense.
The whole story was just an artifice to win our sympathy.
Did You Know?
Do great actors display artifice or art? Sometimes a bit of both. "Artifice" stresses creative skill or intelligence, but also implies a sense of falseness and trickery. "Art" generally rises above such falseness, suggesting instead an unanalyzable creative force. Actors may rely on some of each, but the personae they display in their roles are usually artificial creations. Therein lies a lexical connection between "art" and "artifice." Artifice derives from "artificium," Latin for artifice (that root also gave English "artificial"). "Artificium" in turn developed from "ars," the Latin root underlying the word art (and related terms such as "artist" and "artisan").
Origin of artifice
Middle French, from Latin artificium, from artific-, artifex artificer, from Latin art-, ars + facere
First Known Use: circa 1604
Synonym Discussion of artifice
art, skill, cunning, artifice, craft mean the faculty of executing well what one has devised. art implies a personal, unanalyzable creative power <the art of choosing the right word>. skill stresses technical knowledge and proficiency <the skill of a glassblower>. cunning suggests ingenuity and subtlety in devising, inventing, or executing <a mystery plotted with great cunning>. artifice suggests technical skill especially in imitating things in nature <believed realism in film could be achieved only by artifice>. craft may imply expertness in workmanship <the craft of a master goldsmith>.
ARTIFICE Defined for Kids
Definition of artifice for Students
: a clever trick or device <She used every artifice to avoid work.>
Legal Definition of artifice
: a clever strategy usu. intended to deceive or defraud
Seen and Heard
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