Definition of artful
- an artful performance on the violin
- an artful prose stylist
- an artful cross-examiner
- trim walks and artful bowers
- —William Wordsworth
the artful lawyer got the witness to admit he had been lying
that kitchen gadget is an artful tool for extracting cherry pits
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.
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.
: 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
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