\ 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

This can be tricky, as there isn’t one accredited website or organization that acts as a roster of ADHD coaches. Gia Miller, SELF, "Hiring a Coach for My ADHD Transformed My Life and Productivity," 27 Mar. 2019 That tightrope act is trickier in Latin America, due to political uncertainty, swings in currency values and lagging infrastructure. Ezequiel Minaya, WSJ, "Argentinian Company Wants to Build the Amazon of Latin America," 19 Mar. 2019 But that can get tricky, and the stakes are high that the person might accidentally let on more than anticipated or that the inference still gives away too much. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "What Happens If You Break an NDA? Jordyn Woods Is Reportedly About to Find Out," 28 Feb. 2019 These jurisdictions now face the tricky question of whether to prosecute Little. Kyle Swenson, The Seattle Times, "Elderly prisoner claims he’s America’s deadliest serial killer with 90 victims. Police believe him.," 20 Nov. 2018 Neymar has, according to Marca, been kept away from all media duties, despite being the figurehead of the team and its most popular member, specifically to shield him from tricky questions about his antics here in Russia. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Brazil is desperately trying to coddle Neymar, whose talent outweighs dramatic antics," 5 July 2018 This raises some tricky questions: Can a bot stand in for a member of a committed minority? David Noonan, Scientific American, "The 25% Revolution—How Big Does a Minority Have to Be to Reshape Society?," 8 June 2018 At the end of the day, whether or not West's way of talking about bipolar is helpful is a tricky question., "Is Kanye West Glamorizing Mental Illness In His Latest Album?," 4 June 2018 The employment rate — the share of adults who have jobs, a measure that avoids tricky questions about who should count as unemployed — still hasn’t returned to its prerecession level. Ben Casselman, New York Times, "The Jobs Recovery: A Longer View," 1 June 2018

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

15 May 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

What made you want to look up tricky? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that collects or salvages junk

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