artful (adj.)

1610s, "learned, well-versed in the (liberal) arts," also "characterized by technical skill, artistic," from art (n.) + -ful. Meaning "cunning, crafty, skilled in adapting means to ends" is from 1739. Related: Artfully; artfulness. The Artful Dodger (Jack Dawkins) is from Dickens' "Oliver Twist" (1837-39).

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