[ ahr-tuh-fis ]
/ ˈɑr tə fɪs /


a clever trick or stratagem; a cunning, crafty device or expedient; wile.
trickery; guile; craftiness.
cunning; ingenuity; inventiveness: a drawing-room comedy crafted with artifice and elegance.
a skillful or artful contrivance or expedient.

Nearby words

  1. artie,
  2. artifact,
  3. artifacting,
  4. artifactitious,
  5. artifactual,
  6. artificer,
  7. artificial,
  8. artificial aid,
  9. artificial aids,
  10. artificial blood

Origin of artifice

1525–35; < Anglo-French < Latin artificium craftsmanship, art, craftiness, equivalent to arti-, combining form of ars art1 + -fic-, combining form of facere to do1, make + -ium + -ium

Synonym study

1. See trick. 2. See cunning. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for artifice

British Dictionary definitions for artifice


/ (ˈɑːtɪfɪs) /


a clever expedient; ingenious stratagem
crafty or subtle deception
skill; cleverness
a skilfully contrived device
obsolete craftsmanship

Word Origin for artifice

C16: from Old French, from Latin artificium skill, from artifex one possessed of a specific skill, from ars skill + -fex, from facere to make

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 artifice



1530s, "workmanship, the making of anything by craft or skill," from Middle French artifice "skill, cunning" (14c.), from Latin artificium "a profession, trade, employment, craft; making by art," from artifex (genitive artificis) "craftsman, artist," from ars "art" (see art (n.)) + facere "do" (see factitious). Meaning "device, trick" (the usual modern sense) is from 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper