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[trik-ee] /ˈtrɪk i/
adjective, trickier, trickiest.
given to or characterized by deceitful tricks; crafty; wily.
skilled in clever tricks or dodges.
deceptive, uncertain, or difficult to deal with or handle.
Origin of tricky
1780-90; trick + -y1
Related forms
trickily, adverb
trickiness, noun
1. artful, sly, shrewd. 2. skillful, adroit. 3. doubtful, unpredictable, unreliable, perilous. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tricky
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Ah, Master,” said the weasel, “you will never be wise enough for the tricky people that are in the world.

  • Suppose—some one were to be hurt through this tricky playing of Mignon's team!

    Marjorie Dean Pauline Lester
  • Under ordinary conditions it was a tricky job, but the difficulties were now increased tenfold.

  • To-day they stand for all that is tricky, fraudulent, and oppressive.

    Frenzied Finance Thomas W. Lawson
  • She was tricky to a degree I could never estimate or comprehend.

    Household Education Harriet Martineau
British Dictionary definitions for tricky


adjective trickier, trickiest
involving snags or difficulties: a tricky job
needing careful and tactful handling: a tricky situation
characterized by tricks; sly; wily: a tricky dealer
Derived Forms
trickily, adverb
trickiness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tricky

1786, "characterized by tricks," from trick (n.) + -y (2). Meaning "deceptively difficult" is from 1868. Related: Trickily; trickiness. Earlier was tricksy (1590s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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