Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Words I'm Looking Up (One in an occasional, cleverly named series on words I'm looking up)


In a story I was editing, I came across something like:

"This avant-garde film movement was a response to the perceived artifice of
1950s mainstream cinema."

Not sure what the writer was trying to say, but I have a feeling artifice wasn't the word to say it:

artifice 1. An artful or crafty expedient; a stratagem. See Synonyms at wile. 2. Subtle but base deception; trickery. 3. Cleverness or skill; ingenuity. -- American Heritage Dictionary (via

Did the writer mean artificiality, saccharine quality, phoniness? We'll never know.

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