from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Made by humans; produced rather than natural.
  • adj. Brought about or caused by sociopolitical or other human-generated forces or influences: set up artificial barriers against women and minorities; an artificial economic boom.
  • adj. Made in imitation of something natural; simulated: artificial teeth.
  • adj. Not genuine or natural: an artificial smile.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Man-made; of artifice.
  • adj. False, misleading.
  • adj. Unnatural.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Made or contrived by art; produced or modified by human skill and labor, in opposition to natural.
  • adj. Feigned; fictitious; assumed; affected; not genuine.
  • adj. Artful; cunning; crafty.
  • adj. Cultivated; not indigenous; not of spontaneous growth.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of or pertaining to art; in accordance with the rules of art; technical.
  • Contrived with skill or art; artistically done or represented; elaborate.
  • Made or contrived by art, or by human skill and labor: opposed to natural: as, artificial heat or light; an artificial magnet.
  • Made in imitation of or as a substitute for that which is natural or real: as, artificial pearls or diamonds; artificial flowers.
  • Feigned; fictitious; assumed; affected; constrained; not genuine or natural: said of things.
  • Full of affectation; not natural: said of persons.
  • Artful; subtle; crafty; ingenious.
  • n. A production of art.
  • n. An artificer; an artisan.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. not arising from natural growth or characterized by vital processes
  • adj. contrived by art rather than nature
  • adj. artificially formal


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin artificiālis, belonging to art, from artificium, craftsmanship; see artifice.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Via Old French (French: artificiel), from Latin artificialis from artificium ("skill"), from artifex, from ars ("skill"), and -fex, from facere ("to make").


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  • Even I, the anti-geek, am familiar with the term artificial intelligence.

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  • I believe the original use of "artificial" as a positive take on human-crafted works is valuable. In the digital design industry, the mis-use of "natural" upsets me enough that we named our company The Artificial.

    January 29, 2015