\ ˈtri-kē How to pronounce tricky (audio) \
trickier; trickiest

Definition of tricky

1 : inclined to or marked by trickery
2a : giving a deceptive impression of easiness, simplicity, or order : ticklish a tricky path through the swamp
3 : requiring skill, knack, or caution (as in doing or handling) : difficult a tricky problem also : ingenious a tricky rhythm

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Other Words from tricky

trickily \ ˈtri-​kə-​lē How to pronounce trickily (audio) \ adverb
trickiness \ ˈtri-​kē-​nəs How to pronounce trickiness (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for tricky

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 tricky in a Sentence

The lock is tricky to open. a tricky musical passage for the woodwind section
Recent Examples on the Web And if Tesla’s factory issues and struggles scaling are any indication, making a mainstream electric vehicle can be tricky. The Editors, Outside Online, "The Next-Gen Outdoor Innovations We're Watching," 1 Nov. 2019 Loneliness is tricky, because there is a difference between someone’s actual social isolation and their perception of it. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "Australia does one simple thing to support first-time parents," 29 Oct. 2019 This increase paralleled deforestation, but that's where things get tricky. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "In the Amazon, deforestation is linked to higher malaria rates," 21 Oct. 2019 Choosing an Instagram caption can be tricky, but picking the right candidate who represents your voice can feel impossible. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Everything You Need to Know About the 2020 Presidential Primaries," 24 Sep. 2019 So suggests a new study involving these paper-thin, tricky-to-make pancakes, which are often filled with chocolate, cheese or jam. Stephen Ornes, Scientific American, "Perfect Crepes, by Way of Physics," 29 Aug. 2019 As a rule, the tipping points at which such feedback loops kick in are tricky to predict. Katie Orlinsky, National Geographic, "Arctic permafrost is thawing fast. That affects us all.," 16 Aug. 2019 The complex array of charges can be tricky to figure out for a person who isn’t familiar with foreign exchange rates, so looking simply at how much money the receiver will get is the easiest way to assess which service offers the best deal. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "Is PayPal’s Xoom money transfer service a good deal?," 6 Aug. 2019 Monsoon moisture, however, is tricky to forecast, especially over a longer-term period like a monthly outlook. Chris Bianchi, The Denver Post, "August outlook: Will the monsoon finally kick in?," 1 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tricky.' 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 tricky

1786, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for tricky

Time Traveler

The first known use of tricky was in 1786

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Statistics for tricky

Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Tricky.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for tricky


How to pronounce tricky (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tricky

: using or likely to use dishonest tricks
: requiring skill or caution : difficult to do or deal with


\ ˈtri-kē How to pronounce tricky (audio) \
trickier; trickiest

Kids Definition of tricky

1 : requiring special care and skill Opening the lock is tricky.
2 : likely to use tricks

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More from Merriam-Webster on tricky

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tricky

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tricky

Spanish Central: Translation of tricky

Nglish: Translation of tricky for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tricky for Arabic Speakers

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