craftier; craftiest
: adept in the use of subtlety and cunning
a crafty swindler
The crafty detective got the suspect to confess to the crime.
: marked by subtlety and guile
a crafty scheme
craftily adverb
craftiness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for crafty

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

Examples of crafty in a Sentence

a crafty real estate broker who got people to sell their property at bargain prices
Recent Examples on the Web So when new market developments threaten to diminish or wipe away that revenue stream, PBMs find crafty ways to keep as much of those dollars as possible — often at the expense of employers. Bob Herman, STAT, 18 Mar. 2024 Super Mario fans will delight at the Route ‘N Go Board Game, while crafty kids can enjoy the Lego Creator 3 in-1 Adorable Dogs set or National Geographic’s Weaving Loom Craft Kit—all $25 or less. Dorian Smith-Garcia, Parents, 14 Mar. 2024 Despite the gaudy clothing, this guy is remarkably crafty. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 14 Sep. 2023 For crafty consumers, the trees can be cut up and used as natural drink coasters or creating vine frames for gardens, Rivera added. Julia Jacobo, ABC News, 1 Dec. 2023 There are so many different types of calendars, too—ones for wine lovers and foodies, others that contain beauty and self-care goodies, some for crafty friends, and there are even calendars for your furry friends. Sarah Yang, Sunset Magazine, 24 Nov. 2023 For something a little more hands-on, this Lego flower bouquet would make a great gift for crafty people and plant parents alike. Clara McMahon, Peoplemag, 9 Dec. 2023 The redshirt senior is both crafty and accurate, having completed 69.7% of his passes last season for 24 touchdowns with only two interceptions. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2023 As his career has advanced, his ambitions have morphed and escalated, and the past few years have brought increasingly elaborate media high jinks and crafty public-relations stunts in addition to music. Carrie Battan, The New Yorker, 13 Oct. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'crafty.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see craft entry 1

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of crafty was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near crafty

Cite this Entry

“Crafty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


craftier; craftiest
: skillful at deceiving others
craftily adverb
craftiness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on crafty

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!