CRAFT (a word common to Teutonic languages for strength, or power; cf. Ger. Kraft), a word confined in English only, of the Teutonic languages in which it occurs, to intellectual power, and used as a synonym of "art." It then means skill or ingenuity, especially in the manual arts, hence its use in the expression "Arts and Crafts" (q.v.), and it is thus applied to the trade or profession in which such skill is displayed, to an association of workmen of a particular trade, a trade gild, and in particular to Freemasons, "the craft"; the word appears also in words such as "handicraft" or "craftsman." Skill applied to outwit or deceive gives the common sense of cunning or trickery, and it is this meaning which is implied in such combined words as "priestcraft," "witchcraft" and the like. A more particular use of the word is in the nautical sense of vessels of transport by water; this is probably a colloquially shortened form either of "vessels of a fisherman's, lighterman's etc., craft," i.e. "art," or of "vessels of a heavier or lighter craft," i.e. burden or capacity; in both cases the qualifying words are dropped and the word comes to be used of vessels in general.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)