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 Sprinkled about are artful touches like a raw copper tap box and two pinball machines off the main room. Andre Meunier, oregonlive.com, "Copier salesman hits reset button, starts Second Profession: Portland Breweries Series," 29 July 2019 The rubber backing is an artful touch, one that is largely unseen but reveals a keen attention to detail. Daniel Miller, latimes.com, "Just like underwear, wine and vitamins: You can subscribe to the Volvo XC40," 29 June 2018 That's exactly what HBO's Euphoria did this year with its inventive use of glitter and artful takes on eyeliner. Glamour, "How to Do Euphoria Makeup for Halloween, According to the Show's Makeup Artist," 22 Oct. 2019 Chef Kyle Beausoleil has a pleasing way of putting unexpected and artful items on your plate. Rand Richards Cooper, courant.com, "Review: Chandler Steakhouse at MGM in Springfield is a classic, with modern twists," 4 Oct. 2019 With any story during his more than decade with the paper — about everything from wind power to gangs to politics to exorcism rituals — his writing was artful and colorful, his reporting deep and incisive. Rick Kogan, chicagotribune.com, "A journalist is walking across the world, retracing the steps of first humans. Chicago has joined in.," 3 Oct. 2019 The fifth incarnation of the Marrakech electronic event delivered on its reputation as an elegant, artful and international affair. Katie Bain, Billboard, "The Seven Best Sets of Morocco's Oasis Festival 2019," 17 Sep. 2019 Nieto’s artful shirt offers abstract embroidery of a Dorado fish on the front and a stitched sundial flower on the back in a color palette that is an ode to ocean water colors. Houston Chronicle, "ART FEEL: Wearable art for men created by local resident," 18 May 2018 Use them around the house as beautiful and artful objects for a table display or even consider something more utilitarian, like using a silver toast rack to hold your mail. Georgina Schaeffer, Town & Country, "How To Polish Your Silver," 9 Dec. 2013

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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Time Traveler for artful

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The first known use of artful was in 1583

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Last Updated

3 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Artful.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/artfully. Accessed 11 December 2019.

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More Definitions for artful

artful

adjective
How to pronounce artful (audio)

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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