Definition of artful in English:



  • 1Clever or skilful, especially in a crafty or cunning way.

    ‘her artful wiles’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But these artful locutions raise more questions than they answer.’
    • ‘I wouldn't dispute the accuracy, I just thought it was remarkably artful, and would expect nothing less of you, Ari.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He tried an artful variant on the same trick by announcing a stunning personnel decision on the day before Thanksgiving.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They were led into this cul-de-sac by the champion of artful deception, Bill Clinton.’
    • ‘Interestingly, artful Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has been looking pleased with himself these past few days now a referendum is almost certainly off.’
    • ‘But if there is anyone likely to endure in New York Democratic politics, it is this artful deal-maker.’
    • ‘If you look out for artful and dishonest sorts, you will probably spare yourself a big fiscal setback.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The interior designer has done her best to apply some artful cosmetics to a bit of an ugly face.’
    • ‘Notice the very, very artful wording.’
    • ‘United and Arsenal both discovered to their cost just how artful and ruthless this double act can be.’
    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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In this arena, Apple may benefit from its consumer focus, artful design, and strong brand equity.’
    • ‘Not all of them are original; some are not especially artful.’
    • ‘Crisp photographs by Bill Milne capture the bright, boldly colored fabrics used for the author's artful, fun designs.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Meals are presented in an artful yet not overly fussy manner.’
    • ‘It gives me hope that the American public can recognize and appreciate an artful, intelligent film if and when one is actually offered.’
    • ‘Considering the artful subtlety found elsewhere, this is a let-down, stripping the film of any resonance with the issues at hand.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Kaufman's film has the better script, artful direction and tremendous performances from the likes of Ed Harris, Scott Glenn, Fred Ward.’
    • ‘Or it can be an artful adjunct to your interior design.’
    • ‘It's a song about several songs, and this meta aspect never sounds forced or calculated - instead, it seems artful and intuitive.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To adapt, change, or develop requires incorporating the spirit and artful skills of communication into every step of a plan.’
    • ‘It's artful and creative - gutsy even - but at no point did you get the feeling that these were battles of life and death.’
    • ‘The scenes outdoors and at the well were simple but artful.’