[ ahrt-fuh l ]
/ ˈɑrt fəl /


slyly crafty or cunning; deceitful; tricky: artful schemes.
skillful or clever in adapting means to ends; ingenious: an artful choice of metaphors and similes.
done with or characterized by art or skill: artful acting; artful repairs.
Archaic. artificial.

Nearby words

  1. artesian well,
  2. arteveld,
  3. artevelde, jacob van,
  4. artevelde, philip van,
  5. artex,
  6. artfully,
  7. arthr-,
  8. arthralgia,
  9. arthrectomy,
  10. arthritic

Origin of artful

First recorded in 1605–15; art1 + -ful

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for artful

British Dictionary definitions for artful


/ (ˈɑːtfʊl) /


cunning or tricky
skilful in achieving a desired end
archaic characterized by skill or art
archaic artificial
Derived Formsartfully, adverbartfulness, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for artful



1610s, "learned, well-versed in the (liberal) arts," also "characterized by technical skill," from art (n.) + -ful. Meaning "skilled in adapting means to ends" is from 1739. Related: Artfully; artfulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper