Synonyms & Antonyms of artifice

1 a clever often underhanded means to achieve an end
  • used the artifice of saying his grandmother had died so that he could get the last seat on the plane

Synonyms for artifice

Words Related to artifice

Phrases Synonymous with artifice

2 skill in achieving one's ends through indirect, subtle, or underhanded means
  • using their artifice, the Greeks crafted a hollow wooden horse to hide inside and thereby gained entry into the city of Troy

Synonyms for artifice

Words Related to artifice

3 subtle or imaginative ability in inventing, devising, or executing something
  • a painting that could only have been created with the artifice of a master

Synonyms for artifice

Words Related to artifice

Near Antonyms for artifice

Antonyms for artifice

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About artifice

How is the word artifice different from other nouns like it?

Some common synonyms of artifice are feint, maneuver, ruse, stratagem, trick, and wile. While all these words mean "an indirect means to gain an end," artifice implies ingenious contrivance or invention.

the clever artifices of the stage

When would feint be a good substitute for artifice?

While in some cases nearly identical to artifice, feint implies a diversion or distraction of attention away from one's real intent.

a feint toward the enemy's left flank

When can maneuver be used instead of artifice?

While the synonyms maneuver and artifice are close in meaning, maneuver suggests adroit and skillful avoidance of difficulty.

last-minute maneuvers to avert bankruptcy

When is ruse a more appropriate choice than artifice?

The synonyms ruse and artifice are sometimes interchangeable, but ruse stresses an attempt to mislead by a false impression.

the ruses of smugglers

Where would stratagem be a reasonable alternative to artifice?

The words stratagem and artifice are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, stratagem implies a ruse used to entrap, outwit, circumvent, or surprise an opponent or enemy.

the stratagem-filled game

When is it sensible to use trick instead of artifice?

The meanings of trick and artifice largely overlap; however, trick may imply deception, roguishness, illusion, and either an evil or harmless end.

the tricks of the trade

When might wile be a better fit than artifice?

The words wile and artifice can be used in similar contexts, but wile suggests an attempt to entrap or deceive with false allurements.

used all of his wiles to ingratiate himself

Learn More About artifice

Time Traveler for artifice

Time Traveler

The first known use of artifice was in 1540

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About artifice

Thesaurus Entries Near artifice




See More Nearby Entries 

Cite this Entry

“Artifice.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on artifice

Nglish: Translation of artifice for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of artifice for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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