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

There is nothing artful or concealed about Donald Trump, which is one of the secrets of his strange success as a politician. David Roth, The New Republic, "Making sense of Donald Trump's petulant reign," 12 June 2019 But Leeds, that most artful of directors, and his artistic colleagues have made Island City’s production sparkle at least like a top-of-the-line cubic zirconia, if not the sort of blinding diamond so adored by Ms. Taylor. Christine Dolen, sun-sentinel.com, "Review: ‘Veronica’s Position’ sparkles like fine cubic zirconia at Island City Stage," 3 June 2019 And below the artful hairline, a feline flick of liquid liner offered the only adornment to an otherwise bare and glowing complexion, framed by a set of silver hoops. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Yara Shahidi's Next-Level Hair Twists Are a Red Carpet Win in Los Angeles," 9 Aug. 2018 Its multivalence lies in its artful blending of the conventions of musical theater, opera, and jazz, yet also in its blending of sardonic social critique and autobiography. Jeremy Eichler, BostonGlobe.com, "Behind the white picket fence, portraits of a jagged loneliness," 13 May 2018 What viewers didn't see though, was one artful touch which Ford wasn't able to include on the show. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Leanne Ford's Genius $5 Trick to Liven Up an All-White Kitchen," 25 Mar. 2019 Poc a Poc presented an innovative, artful take on a classic medium. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "You Can Get Your Face Handpainted on Your Fine China," 3 Apr. 2019 Also artful was Yang Li’s unorthodox, and of the moment, approach to showing his Fall collection. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Our Very Favorite Moments From the Fall 2019 Collections," 12 Mar. 2019 Left unmentioned is the fact that Lincoln’s First Inaugural, however artful legally, had left seceding states unpersuaded and unreconciled. Harold Holzer, WSJ, "‘Uncivil Warriors’ Review: Lawyers at Civil War," 29 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

18 Jun 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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