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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.