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 \ ˈärt-​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

The increasing popularity of high-definition plasma televisions supported more artful styles of TV cinematography and encouraged staying home. Adam Wilson, Harper's magazine, "Good Bad Bad Good," 16 Sep. 2019 The social calendar boasted at least three black-tie soirees, plus a handful of artful cocktail parties, too. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "Houston Symphony Opening Night 'all-Russian' Concert & Gala celebrates diversity, unity and vodka," 16 Sep. 2019 But after two years of sending collages and letters back and forth to each other, the duo took artful collaborations to a whole new level by expanding their art projects from paper collages to clothes. Teen Vogue, "Meet Femail Forever, the Brand Changing the Fashion Industry via Snail Mail," 10 Sep. 2019 There were artful updos: Lily-Rose Depp sculpted a foolproof knot complete with twisted tendrils, while Elsa Hosk slicked her blonde lengths back into a ballerina bun, and Tessa Thompson wore a crown of quadruple braids. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Kristen Stewart, Tessa Thompson, and More of the Best Beauty Looks From the Venice Film Festival," 6 Sep. 2019 Robert Byrne, who in 1963 lost to Fischer in one of the most artful chess games ever played and later wrote a chess column for The New York Times, died six years ago at 84. Peter Nicholas, The Atlantic, "The End of the Golden Era of Chess," 5 Sep. 2019 This political theatre is designed to be a distraction from his real purpose, the artful manipulation of obscure rules and institutions to guarantee his hold on power. The Economist, "The corrupting of democracy," 29 Aug. 2019 But very few of them have shown much disposition to realign or even to make an artful revisionist approach to the winning side. Conrad Black, National Review, "Trump Rises Above the Critics," 28 Aug. 2019 An artful chalk board where loopy hand-lettering touts daily specials. Amy Drew Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "South in your mouth at Apopka’s Southern Deli | Review," 26 Aug. 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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Last Updated

8 Oct 2019

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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

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