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.

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

1. subterfuge. See trick. 2. deception, deceit, art, duplicity. See cunning. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
artifice (ˈɑːtɪfɪs)
1.  a clever expedient; ingenious stratagem
2.  crafty or subtle deception
3.  skill; cleverness
4.  a skilfully contrived device
5.  obsolete craftsmanship
[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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1530s, "workmanship," from M.Fr. artifice "skill, cunning" (14c.), from L. artificium "making by art, craft," from artifex (gen. 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
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Example sentences
Their contrasting hues offer an opulence that's free of artifice; three of the
  vases are actually covered with leaves.
Many of the best new films are flaunting intelligent artifice.
Like literature, the long race has stripped artifice away.
The raw personal experience is the stuff of art, of human artifice.
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