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artifice

[ahr-tuh-fis] /ˈɑr tə fɪs/
noun
1.
a clever trick or stratagem; a cunning, crafty device or expedient; wile.
2.
trickery; guile; craftiness.
3.
cunning; ingenuity; inventiveness:
a drawing-room comedy crafted with artifice and elegance.
4.
a skillful or artful contrivance or expedient.
Origin
1525-1535
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
Synonyms
1. subterfuge. See trick. 2. deception, deceit, art, duplicity. See cunning.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for artifice
  • 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.
  • Art is witness or it begins the descent to artifice and momentarily fashionable entertainment.
  • The intensity of competition, moreover, has produced perfection in every artifice of mimicry and illusion.
  • The past tense helps sweep us away in the story; the present tense subtly reminds us that it is artifice after all.
  • The difference between art and artifice, singers stress, lies in how you respect and tackle a song's story or message.
  • He has no pretense or artifice, just a knowing attitude behind a sly smile.
  • We should remember that all drama is artifice.
British Dictionary definitions for artifice

artifice

/ˈɑːtɪfɪs/
noun
1.
a clever expedient; ingenious stratagem
2.
crafty or subtle deception
3.
skill; cleverness
4.
a skilfully contrived device
5.
(obsolete) craftsmanship
Word Origin
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 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for artifice
n.

1530s, "workmanship, the making of anything by craft or skill," from Middle French artifice "skill, cunning" (14c.), from Latin artificium "a profession, trade, employment, craft; making by art," from artifex (genitive 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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