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

And if the 21-7 win over the Vikings on Monday night was less than artful, the Seahawks get a passing grade for that, too. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Stock Watch: Bob Condotta grades the Seahawks in their 21-7 win over the Vikings," 10 Dec. 2018 Right now, their line includes a variety of light fixtures, shades, and a side chair, all of which have a decidedly retro and artful flair. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "This Shapeshifting Clock Changes Design As It Approaches Noon," 9 Jan. 2019 Seattle Art Museum The Seattle Art Museum’s sleek and contemporary digs are as artful as the works that inhabit it. Jenna Scatena, Condé Nast Traveler, "15 Best Things to Do in Seattle," 16 May 2018 Here, chef Shigetosi Narita’s artful dishes, which are usually centered on some kind of bird, come skewered and grilled. Michaela Trimble, Vogue, "An Insider’s Guide to the Little Tokyo of Mexico City," 23 Jan. 2019 From chills-inducing performances to blockbuster effects to artful foreign language entries, these are all the Oscar contenders streaming online right now (or in the very near future). Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Where to Watch the 2019 Oscar Nominees Online," 22 Jan. 2019 Dan talked a bit about his healthy seasonal approach to cooking and his artful riffs on familiar dishes, such as his dreamy date, mozzarella, and radicchio pizza and roasted short ribs. Pilar Guzmán, Condé Nast Traveler, "South Africa’s Other Big Five," 20 Dec. 2018 Human experiment The attractive magic of Fortnite is an artful mix of game design with a persuasive technology designed to shape the behavior of users. Betsy Morris, WSJ, "How Fortnite Triggered an Unwinnable War Between Parents and Their Boys," 21 Dec. 2018 The book is artful, illuminating, knowledgeable, wise, helpful and caring—like its author, a distinguished therapist and researcher at the Massachusetts General Hospital, who died in 2017. WSJ, "Who Read What in 2018: History and Journalism," 10 Dec. 2018

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

12 Mar 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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