1530s, "workmanship, the making of something by craft or skill," from Middle French artifice "skill, cunning" (14c.), from Latin artificium "a profession, trade, employment, craft; a making by art; a work of art," from artifex (genitive artificis) "craftsman, artist, master of an art" (music, acting, sculpting, etc.), from stem of ars "art" (see art (n.)) + facere "to make, do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). Meaning "crafty device, trick" is from 1650s.
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