artful

adjective
art·​ful | \ ˈärt-fəl How to pronounce artful (audio) \

Definition of artful

1 : performed with or showing art or skill an artful performance on the violin
2a : using or characterized by art and skill : dexterous an artful prose stylist
b : adroit in attaining an end usually by insinuating or indirect means : wily an artful cross-examiner
3 : artificial trim walks and artful bowers— William Wordsworth

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Other Words from artful

artfully \ -​fə-​lē How to pronounce artfully (audio) \ adverb
artfulness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for artful

sly, cunning, crafty, wily, tricky, foxy, artful, slick mean attaining or seeking to attain one's ends by guileful or devious means. sly implies furtiveness, lack of candor, and skill in concealing one's aims and methods. a sly corporate raider cunning suggests the inventive use of sometimes limited intelligence in overreaching or circumventing. the cunning fox avoided the trap crafty implies cleverness and subtlety of method. a crafty lefthander wily implies skill and deception in maneuvering. the wily fugitive escaped the posse tricky is more likely to suggest shiftiness and unreliability than skill in deception and maneuvering. a tricky political operative foxy implies a shrewd and wary craftiness usually involving devious dealing. a foxy publicity man planting stories artful implies indirectness in dealing and often connotes sophistication or cleverness. elicited the information by artful questioning slick emphasizes smoothness and guile. slick operators selling time-sharing

Did You Know?

A writer may produce an artful piece of prose, one that's clearly and elegantly written. The same writer might also make an artful argument, one that cleverly leaves out certain details and plays up others so as to make a stronger case. In the first instance, the prose is well crafted; in the second, the argument might instead be called crafty. But even though both uses are correct, most of us still use artful somewhat differently from artistic.

Examples of artful in a Sentence

the artful lawyer got the witness to admit he had been lying that kitchen gadget is an artful tool for extracting cherry pits

Recent Examples on the Web

At the brasserie L’Impe, for example, the kitchen gives Nîmes’s sturdy signature dish, brandade de morue (salt cod and potatoes), a light, artful touch. Alexander Lobrano, WSJ, "The New Provence: From Quaint to Uber-Chic," 11 July 2019 Shots of coral, red, and turquoise add brightness while porthole windows, jigsaw puzzle tables, hanging chairs, and ship lights lend even more artful whimsy that’s fun for any age. Jennifer Blaise Kramer, House Beautiful, "This Home Is the Ultimate Island Getaway, No Matter Your Age," 28 June 2019 Must-read book The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant provides an entertaining and artful account of the history of British Columbia. Lauren Eckert, National Geographic, "See Vancouver like a Nat Geo Explorer," 27 June 2019 Micano Home and Garden‘s artful displays hold unique items such as wheelbarrows transformed into tables and Edison bulb lamps made from old gears and rotary phones. Erin E. Williams, Twin Cities, "Stunning vistas, modern museums, quirky shops make Reno a favorite for tourists," 22 June 2019 While this may sound like there’s a focus on the raw here, Bündok relishes all its flavors, cooked or uncooked, whipping up dishes that are artful and rich, and served only with the freshest ingredients. Destination Canada, Bon Appétit, "8 Not-to-Be-Missed Restaurants in Edmonton," 14 June 2019 The ranch is divided into nearly 40 separate and tidy blocks of vines pieced as snugly together as an exceptionally intricate and artful jigsaw puzzle. Mike Dunne, SFChronicle.com, "Inside the remote, peculiar vineyard behind Amador’s most acclaimed wines," 5 June 2019 The color will lighten from coral to the palest peach, and some creaminess will occur — not to rival the artful polenta served in northeastern Italy but good enough for your table on a weeknight. Washington Post, "This polenta will satisfy for those nights when time is tight," 25 June 2019 This increasingly artful rendition of the beautiful game has caught the eye of some forward-thinking sponsors. M.s., The Economist, "Women’s football is flourishing, on the pitch and off it," 24 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'artful.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of artful

1583, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for artful

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for artful

The first known use of artful was in 1583

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More Definitions for artful

artful

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of artful

: done with or showing artistic skill
: good at getting or achieving things in ways that are clever and not noticeable : used to get or achieve things in ways that are clever and not noticeable

artful

adjective
art·​ful | \ ˈärt-fəl How to pronounce artful (audio) \

Kids Definition of artful

1 : done with or showing art or skill artful writing
2 : clever at taking advantage an artful salesman

Other Words from artful

artfully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on artful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for artful

Spanish Central: Translation of artful

Nglish: Translation of artful for Spanish Speakers

Comments on artful

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