This Week’s Word: Artifice
/ˈɑr tə fɪs/ :: [ahr-tuh-fis]
April fool’s day seems like the perfect day to learn a synonym for trickery. Artifice can refer to a particular deceit or stratagem or the trait of cunning itself. However, the word artifice does not necessarily connote deceit done with malicious intention; fooling an audience for the purpose of entertainment is still artifice.
Synonyms: duplicity, guile, craftiness, wile
Etymology: The word artifice was borrowed into English from Middle French shortly before the Elizabethan period (circa 1530s). The word comes from adding the Latin ars (art) and facere (make or do—also the root for facetious) and originally referred more to craftsmanship or skill in a trade rather than craftiness in terms of deceit.
Sample: The artifice with which the play was written makes the actors’ jobs easy; the artful dialogue makes for compelling and convincing characters.
Sample 2: Although she was not happy about washing the sticky honey out of her hair, Latrice had to admire Tyrone’s prank for its artifice.