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Definition of artifice:

  1. A handicraft; a trade; art of making.
  2. Artful or skillful contrivance.
  3. Crafty device; an artful, ingenious, or elaborate trick. [ Now the usual meaning.]
  4. Workmanship; a skillfully contrived work.

Synonyms:

wile, cunningness, blind, finesse, imposture, adroitness, duplicity, scheme, sneakiness, means, caginess, cunning, masterfulness, foxiness, artfulness, deftness, sleight, smoke and mirrors, guilefulness, misconduct, corruption, art, cheat, artistry, gambit, play, take-in, honest, fraud, cleverness, gamesmanship, cheating, crookery, subtleness, knack, fakery, cozenage, gimmick, skulduggery, deceitfulness, dupery, hanky-panky, legerdemain, chicane, wiliness, foul play, double-dealing, deceit, shenanigan, canniness, dissimulation, skillfulness, crookedness, dissembling, guile, jig, jugglery, deviousness, slickness, chicanery, adeptness, invention, flimflam, dishonesty, craftiness, slyness, subtlety, fetch, deceptiveness, jiggery-pokery, craft, juggle.

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