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 ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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