If something is tricky, it's difficult, like a tricky puzzle. And if a person is tricky, they're sneaky, skilled, or crafty, like a tricky magician who makes it look easy to pull quarters out of your ears.

A tricky riddle is extremely hard to figure out, and a tricky question on a math test is even trickier if you can't use a calculator to solve it. In their 1986 rap classic, "It's Tricky," Run-DMC claimed that "it's rock a rhyme that's right on time" — or in other words, it's really difficult to write a clever rap lyric.

Definitions of tricky
  1. adjective
    having concealed difficulty
    “a tricky recipe to follow”
    synonyms: catchy
    difficult, hard
    not easy; requiring great physical or mental effort to accomplish or comprehend or endure
  2. adjective
    marked by skill in deception
    synonyms: crafty, cunning, dodgy, foxy, guileful, knavish, slick, sly, tricksy, wily
    marked by skill in achieving a desired end especially with cunning or craft
  3. adjective
    not to be trusted
    synonyms: slippery
    untrustworthy, untrusty
    not worthy of trust or belief
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week