Definition of artful in English:


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  • 1(of a person or action) clever or skillful, typically in a crafty or cunning way.

    ‘her artful wiles’
    • ‘It is based on the observation that with a sufficient amount of clever handwaving and artful verbiage, you can interpret any piece of writing as a statement about anything at all.’
    • ‘United and Arsenal both discovered to their cost just how artful and ruthless this double act can be.’
    • ‘They were led into this cul-de-sac by the champion of artful deception, Bill Clinton.’
    • ‘He goes to Bath, where Sir Walter is now established with his two elder daughters and Elizabeth's companion Mrs Clay, an artful woman with matrimonial designs on Sir Walter.’
    • ‘Some Englishmen, too, may never forgive him for the artful deception that turned a World Cup quarter-final Argentina's way 20 years ago next summer.’
    • ‘If you look out for artful and dishonest sorts, you will probably spare yourself a big fiscal setback.’
    • ‘The interior designer has done her best to apply some artful cosmetics to a bit of an ugly face.’
    • ‘For all the perspective that can be gained through the artful use of analogies from prior campaigns, politics is too chaotic to be governed by rigid determinism.’
    • ‘But if there is anyone likely to endure in New York Democratic politics, it is this artful deal-maker.’
    • ‘In this respect it has been a splendidly artful chancellorship that has lasted the remarkable length that it has due in large part to our gullibility and our apparent willingness to let him get away with it.’
    • ‘Notice the very, very artful wording.’
    • ‘But these artful locutions raise more questions than they answer.’
    • ‘And Divided We Fall is so artful that by the time it ends we have recognized all of them as human beings and have recognized ourselves in them.’
    • ‘He tried an artful variant on the same trick by announcing a stunning personnel decision on the day before Thanksgiving.’
    • ‘I wouldn't dispute the accuracy, I just thought it was remarkably artful, and would expect nothing less of you, Ari.’
    • ‘In her preface, Hannah declares her book to be a ‘record of plain unvarnished facts’, but a glance at any page shows it to be something far more artful.’
    • ‘Chelsea's artful and stylish Portuguese manager courts controversy so often that it's clearly part of his game plan to provoke and unsettle the opposition.’
    • ‘Interestingly, artful Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has been looking pleased with himself these past few days now a referendum is almost certainly off.’
    • ‘People assumed that Jones was merely being artful when he spoke of a possible chink in the England line, centring around Charlie Hodgson and Henry Paul.’
    • ‘A trademark jink and artful cross paved the way for a goal that hauled Everton back into an encounter in which they were 2-0 down.’
    sly, crafty, cunning, wily, scheming, devious, Machiavellian, sneaky, guileful, tricky, conniving, designing, calculating
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  • 2Showing creative skill or taste.

    ‘an artful photograph of a striking woman’
    • ‘In the hands of a creative photographer, an artful landscape can be made of any subject from a New England farm to an Inca ruin in Peru.’
    • ‘It's artful and creative - gutsy even - but at no point did you get the feeling that these were battles of life and death.’
    • ‘To adapt, change, or develop requires incorporating the spirit and artful skills of communication into every step of a plan.’
    • ‘On the front page of the New York Times for May 15, 2004, you will find one of the most artful photographs from Iraq that I have seen yet.’
    • ‘Such objects set in motion a powerful dynamic whereby the maker uses an artful creation to awaken the mind of the viewer - often in very playful ways.’
    • ‘Considering the artful subtlety found elsewhere, this is a let-down, stripping the film of any resonance with the issues at hand.’
    • ‘Crisp photographs by Bill Milne capture the bright, boldly colored fabrics used for the author's artful, fun designs.’
    • ‘All the tried-and-tested gripes about it being a waste of taxpayers' money and not being any more artful than, say, the fire extinguisher or the plug socket resounded around the room.’
    • ‘In any case, the idea of the soliloquy would greatly influence Browning's poetry, later characterised by its artful monologues, even if it would take years to be used to full effect.’
    • ‘It gives me hope that the American public can recognize and appreciate an artful, intelligent film if and when one is actually offered.’
    • ‘In this arena, Apple may benefit from its consumer focus, artful design, and strong brand equity.’
    • ‘The artful dance form called capoeira is widely known as a cultural expression in Brazil, but it's rapidly becoming all the rage in the capital of Angola.’
    • ‘And unlike his two compatriots, Mehrjui's work is mostly devoid of the artful interplay between life and art that is so characteristic of their work.’
    • ‘With an eye for the perfect moment combined with an artful sense of composition, Parke's work's are a stunning evocation of how this country really is.’
    • ‘The scenes outdoors and at the well were simple but artful.’
    • ‘Meals are presented in an artful yet not overly fussy manner.’
    • ‘Kaufman's film has the better script, artful direction and tremendous performances from the likes of Ed Harris, Scott Glenn, Fred Ward.’
    • ‘Not all of them are original; some are not especially artful.’
    • ‘It's a song about several songs, and this meta aspect never sounds forced or calculated - instead, it seems artful and intuitive.’
    • ‘Or it can be an artful adjunct to your interior design.’



/ˈärtf(ə)l/ /ˈɑrtf(ə)l/