from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Exhibiting art or skill: "The furniture is an artful blend of antiques and reproductions” ( Michael W. Robbins).
  • adj. Skillful in accomplishing a purpose, especially by the use of cunning or craft.
  • adj. Artificial.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Performed with, or characterized by, art or skill.
  • adj. Artificial; imitative.
  • adj. Using or exhibiting much art, skill, or contrivance; dexterous; skillful.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Performed with, or characterized by, art or skill.
  • adj. Artificial; imitative.
  • adj. Using or exhibiting much art, skill, or contrivance; dexterous; skillful.
  • adj. Cunning; disposed to cunning indirectness of dealing; crafty. [The usual sense.]

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Done with or characterized by art or skill.
  • Artificial, as opposed to natural; produced or producing by art: as, “too artful a writer,” Dryden, Life of Virgil.
  • Skilful, Of persons, skilful in adapting means to ends; adroit.
  • Of things, skilfully adapted; ingenious; clever.
  • Cunning; crafty; practising or characterized by art or stratagem: as, “the Artful Dodger,” Dickens, Oliver Twist.
  • Synonyms Cunning, Artful, Sly, etc. (see cunning), deceitful, politic, shifty, insidious.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. not straightforward or candid; giving a false appearance of frankness
  • adj. marked by skill in achieving a desired end especially with cunning or craft


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

art +‎ -ful


  • She looks closely at the aqua and maroon forms stirring on the empty background, the seasons of her life written in artful prose across her face.

    A Michoacan tradition: the needlework artistry of Hermelinda Reyes

  • Using the tilt of the Sixaxis, you stir the petal of a flower on the breeze, and as you touch other opening blooms on your way, your single pale curl is joined by gradually more colorful petals, eventually assembling the sort of floral cloud seen in artful visions of springtime cherry blossom breezes.

    Archive 2009-02-01

  • Interrogation, at its most artful, is a contest of wits.

    The Ploy

  • Hamilton weaves memorable characters and elemental emotions in artful prose with the lofty theme of Western-imposed "education" versus a village's perceived perils of exposure to the developed world.

    The Camel Bookmobile: Summary and book reviews of The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton.

  • If it wasn't entirely lacking in artful display, I'd say they'd aged it, to take off the new shine.


  • People who are good with things, people like me, can appreciate the infinite diversity of possible tools buried in artful combinations of even the humblest technologies.

    Archive 2005-04-24

  • She calls her artful and designing, which sounds to me very much as if Master Frank might admire the damsel.

    Beechcroft at Rockstone

  • Both the prince and the philosopher choose, how ever to involve this eternal truth in artful and labored obscurity.] 71 That sentiment is expressed almost in the words of Julian himself.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • And there were so many eligible young women on the market, although none of them were described as artful hussies!

    Dennison Grant: a Novel of To-day

  • Chloe is director Atom Egoyan's foray into the realm of what might be called artful trash.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • exhibiting artistic skill

    Picasso is generally considered the most artful member of the Cubist movement.

    adjective: clever in a cunning way

    Bernie Madoff's artful Ponzi scheme stole billions of dollars from investors and is considered the largest financial fraud in U.S. history.

    October 11, 2016