crafty

as in cunning
clever at attaining one's ends by indirect and often deceptive means a crafty real estate broker who got people to sell their property at bargain prices

Synonyms & Similar Words

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How is the word crafty distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of crafty are artful, cunning, foxy, slick, sly, tricky, and wily. While all these words mean "attaining or seeking to attain one's ends by guileful or devious means," crafty implies cleverness and subtlety of method.

a crafty lefthander

Where would artful be a reasonable alternative to crafty?

The words artful and crafty are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, artful implies indirectness in dealing and often connotes sophistication or cleverness.

elicited the information by artful questioning

When might cunning be a better fit than crafty?

While in some cases nearly identical to crafty, cunning suggests the inventive use of sometimes limited intelligence in overreaching or circumventing.

the cunning fox avoided the trap

In what contexts can foxy take the place of crafty?

The words foxy and crafty can be used in similar contexts, but foxy implies a shrewd and wary craftiness usually involving devious dealing.

a foxy publicity man planting stories

When is slick a more appropriate choice than crafty?

While the synonyms slick and crafty are close in meaning, slick emphasizes smoothness and guile.

slick operators selling time-sharing

When is it sensible to use sly instead of crafty?

The synonyms sly and crafty are sometimes interchangeable, but sly implies furtiveness, lack of candor, and skill in concealing one's aims and methods.

a sly corporate raider

When can tricky be used instead of crafty?

The meanings of tricky and crafty largely overlap; however, tricky is more likely to suggest shiftiness and unreliability than skill in deception and maneuvering.

a tricky political operative

When would wily be a good substitute for crafty?

Although the words wily and crafty have much in common, wily implies skill and deception in maneuvering.

the wily fugitive escaped the posse

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Cite this Entry

“Crafty.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/crafty. Accessed 29 Jan. 2023.

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