\ 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

The central government will probably make life tricky for Mr Imamoglu. The Economist, "Opponents of Turkey’s erratic president should try harder," 29 June 2019 Beasley is a bit trickier, since his role is less clearly defined. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "Nuggets free agency 2019: What to know as NBA’s signing season begins," 28 June 2019 Finding and backing the right energy technologies for the future is tricky for investors, especially at such an uncertain time. Fatih Birol For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "The world needs to get serious about combatting carbon emissions," 27 June 2019 The film is in pre-production, with filming reportedly set to begin next month, which might be a little tricky for Taurasi. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "Space Jam 2 cast: Mercury, WNBA star Diana Taurasi reportedly to have 'key role' in movie," 20 June 2019 Sometimes, this can be quite tricky for red dwarf stars, which are notoriously tempestuous and prone to erupting in massive flares. Nadia Drake, National Geographic, "Two potentially life-friendly planets found orbiting a nearby star," 18 June 2019 But the second factor is trickier: Brandon Ingram’s blood clot. Kyle Goon, Orange County Register, "Purple & Bold: Anthony Davis rumors are circling again. Here’s what’s changed.," 6 June 2019 One of the things that’s tricky about it is, the world can’t pick up their life and go to Stanford. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: 2U CEO Chip Paucek on Recode Decode," 14 Oct. 2018 Then comes the trickiest meal of the day—my seven-year-old Lily’s breakfast. Stephanie Ganz, Bon Appétit, "How I Conquer Existential Dread By Meal Planning for My Family," 19 June 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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Statistics for tricky

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for tricky

The first known use of tricky was in 1786

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More Definitions for tricky



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tricky

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tricky

Spanish Central: Translation of tricky

Nglish: Translation of tricky for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tricky for Arabic Speakers

Comments on tricky

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an act or instance of editing or removing

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