- The definition of an artifice is a skill or craft that is clever but often manipulative or tricky.
An example of an artifice is the story a con artist uses to convince you to give him your money.
- skill or ingenuity
- a clever expedient
- trickery or craft
- a sly or artful trick
Origin of artificeOld French ; from Classical Latin artificium, craft ; from artifex, artist, master of a trade ; from ars, art + facere, do
- a. Deception or trickery: The purchaser believed that the product was new only by artifice of the seller.b. Something contrived or made up to achieve an end, especially by deceiving; a stratagem or ruse: “From the beginning, ‘compassionate conservatism’ was an artifice designed to mask Bush's conservatism from an electorate that did not want a sharp rightward turn” (Jonathan Chait). See Synonyms at wile.
- a. Cleverness or ingenuity in making or doing something; art or skill: “Literary artifice is the only means that a writer has at his disposal. How else can he convey his impression of life?” (Harry Levin).b. An artistic device or convention: artifices such as conceits and puns.
Origin of artificeFrench, from Old French, craftsmanship, from Latin artificium, from artifex, artific-, craftsman : ars, art-, art; see art1 + -fex, maker; see dhē- in Indo-European roots.