artful

adjective
art·ful | \ˈärt-fəl \

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 \ 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

Robby Müller, the Dutch cinematographer whose inventive use of lighting and artful approach to composition were consistent elements of films by directors like Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch, died on July 3 at his home in Amsterdam. Richard Sandomir, BostonGlobe.com, "Robby Müller, inventive cinematographer, dies at 78," 13 July 2018 Image Robby Müller, the Dutch cinematographer whose inventive use of lighting and artful approach to composition were consistent elements of films by directors like Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch, died on July 3 at his home in Amsterdam. Richard Sandomir, New York Times, "Robby Müller, Inventive Cinematographer, Is Dead at 78," 10 July 2018 New Orleans is the real deal, the most authentic and artful American city. Chris Erskine, latimes.com, "A toast to New Orleans, the place it all began for us," 6 July 2018 His filmography is a who's who of ridiculous movies that are somehow at once artful and completely tasteless (his previous film, Love, was released in 3D and features a real handjob as its opening scene). Tom Philip, GQ, "Provocative Movie Director Gaspar Noé Has Finally Gone Too Far," 18 May 2018 Watching the process of something that’s been skillfully mastered & passed down feels genuine and artful. cleveland.com, "50 Things to Eat and Drink in Greater Cleveland: Chefs, foodies & other notables make their picks for 2018," 11 May 2018 But their explosions — their intricate, artful, beautiful explosions, crackling through the bitterly cold night — spoke just as loudly of the war that very few of them want and all of them fundamentally fear. USA TODAY, "At Olympics, fiery optics both entertaining and symbolic," 9 Feb. 2018 Lagerfeld has made intelligent, artful use of those references, and in a sense has kept them alive in his Chanel collections — along with a zillion other Lagerfeld ideas and contemporary jokes. Cathy Horyn, The Cut, "All Aboard the S.S. Chanel," 4 May 2018 Their narcissism is repellent yet riveting, and Mr. Côté comes at his subjects with an artful, exploratory obliqueness that’s endearingly curious, as if discovering a whole new species. Denis Côté, New York Times, "Review: Six Strongmen Cultivate ‘A Skin So Soft’," 5 July 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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Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

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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 \

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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