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).
Web design and development by MaoningTech.