aesthetic

adjective
aes·​thet·​ic | \ es-ˈthe-tik How to pronounce aesthetic (audio) , is-, British usually ēs- \
variants: also US esthetic or aesthetical or US esthetical \ es-​ˈthe-​ti-​kəl How to pronounce aesthetic (audio) , is-​ , British usually  ēs-​ \

Essential Meaning of aesthetic

: of or relating to art or beauty There are practical as well as aesthetic reasons for planting trees. the statue's aesthetic [=artistic] beauty See More Examplesmaking aesthetic improvements to the building aesthetic values/idealsHide

Full Definition of aesthetic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of, relating to, or dealing with aesthetics or the beautiful aesthetic theories
b : artistic a work of aesthetic value
c : pleasing in appearance : attractive … easy-to-use keyboards, clear graphics, and other ergonomic and aesthetic features …— Mark Mehler
2 : appreciative of, responsive to, or zealous about the beautiful also : responsive to or appreciative of what is pleasurable to the senses his aesthetic sensibility
3 : done or made to improve a person's appearance or to correct defects in a person's appearance aesthetic plastic surgery

aesthetic

noun
aes·​thet·​ic | \ es-ˈthe-tik How to pronounce aesthetic (audio) , is-, British usually ēs- \
variants: or less commonly esthetic

Definition of aesthetic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 aesthetics also esthetics\ es-​ˈthe-​tiks How to pronounce aesthetic (audio) , is-​ , British usually  ēs-​ \ plural in form but singular or plural in construction : a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste and with the creation and appreciation of beauty
2 : a particular theory or conception of beauty or art : a particular taste for or approach to what is pleasing to the senses and especially sight modernist aesthetics staging new ballets which reflected the aesthetic of the new nation— Mary Clarke & Clement Crisp
3 aesthetics also esthetics plural : a pleasing appearance or effect : beauty appreciated the aesthetics of the gemstones

Other Words from aesthetic

Adjective

aesthetically or less commonly esthetically \ es-​ˈthe-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce aesthetic (audio) , is-​ , British usually  ēs-​ \ adverb

The Singular (Or Plural) Art of Aesthetics

Noun

The noun aesthetic is often found used in its plural form. In the plural form, aesthetics can refer to the theory of art and beauty—and in particular the question of what makes something beautiful or interesting to regard:

Although he could extemporize animatedly about the history of the valve seat grinder, or the art of ropemaking, or how long it took to manually drill blast holes into a deposit of coal, aesthetics were another matter. The unlikely beauty of his rusty treasures defied elaboration.
Donovan Hohn, Harper’s, January 2005

This sense is sometimes encountered in constructions that treat it as singular:

With the removal of the studio packages, those cinema owners still providing double features began exploring less arbitrary and more justified pairings of films. The double feature became a special element of movie houses concentrating on the presentation of classic and art films. And this is where an aesthetics of the double feature emerges.
Chadwick Jenkins, PopMatters, 16 Aug. 2016

So Sontag was wrong to describe camp as an "unserious, 'aesthete's' vision." Aesthetics is always serious when agreed-upon interpretations are changed or stolen or emptied out.
Dave Hickey, Harper's, December 2009

A word that follows a similar pattern is poetics, (which also happens to be the title of a work by Aristotle focusing on literary theory and discourse):

A poetics of film, he has argued, seeks to reveal the conventions that films use to achieve their effects-and cognitive explanations provide insight into how and why filmic conventions, like shot-reverse-shot or empathy close-ups, produce the effects they do.
Alissa Quart, Lingua Franca, March 2000

As a plural noun, aesthetics can also be used as a synonym for beauty:

For reasons of economy and aesthetics, though, most of the house was stick built and is perfectly cozy without any elaborate beam work.
Andrew Vietze, Down East, May 2003

Examples of aesthetic in a Sentence

Adjective My generation has an annoying penchant for treating luxuries as necessities and turning guilty pleasures into aesthetic and even moral touchstones. — Terrence Rafferty, GQ, October 1997 Whereas the essence of Proust's aesthetic position was contained in the deceptively simple yet momentous assertion that "a picture's beauty does not depend on the things portrayed in it." — Alain de Botton, How Proust Can Change Your Life, 1997 I suppose that jazz listening and prizefight watching are my two most passionate avocations, and this is largely so because the origins of my aesthetic urges are in the black working class. — Gerald Early, "The Passing of Jazz's Old Guard: … ," in The Best American Essays 1986, Elizabeth Hardwick & Robert Atwan, editors1986 There are practical as well as aesthetic reasons for planting trees. making aesthetic improvements to the building Noun Aesthetics is an important part of Greek philosophy. the aesthetics of the gemstones
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective And, as these three additional contenders demonstrate, a wide range of subject matter and aesthetic. Gregory Ellwood, Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec. 2021 The entryway of Rebecca Propes' home lacked interest and didn't reflect her fun, boho aesthetic. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 17 Nov. 2021 But most of them also include some element, some detail, that either introduces comedy or aesthetic self-consciousness, in ways that leave you uncertain about the seriousness of the social critique. Washington Post, 10 Nov. 2021 Rather, this project mostly reaffirms the profitability of multiculturalism — showcasing how symbolic and aesthetic gestures of inclusion can serve any number of bottom lines. Adrienne Brown, Curbed, 29 Oct. 2021 The result: a carefully curated assemblage of nearly 100 spotlit vessels that exude exalted, historic and aesthetic value. Laura Manske, Forbes, 27 Oct. 2021 Even my limited adventures in the darkroom were enough to teach me that there’s nothing immediate or straightforwardly truthful about photographs, that they’re constructed by all sorts of technical and aesthetic processes. Hari Kunzru, Harper's Magazine, 26 Oct. 2021 This newly opened exhibit at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum examines the technical and aesthetic development of American motorcycles over the last 100+ years with about three dozen motorcycles on loan from the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. cleveland, 26 Aug. 2021 Brailey says that this misconception is due to the fact that TikTok prioritizes personality over aesthetic or production quality, something that today’s Gen Z and millennial creators are more likely to embrace than older generations. Frances Solá-santiago, refinery29.com, 11 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Bridgerton fans pushed this word, referring to a distinctive fashion aesthetic (in this case one inspired by Georgian styles) into the national conversation. Chris Morris, Fortune, 24 Nov. 2021 The aesthetic of the Gucci fashion empire — the heavy buckles and boxy leather, the dresses like form-fitting armor — is trapped in an older era; the family has no forward-thinking leader, no guiding moral center. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 22 Nov. 2021 The milieu was still Black L.A., but the aesthetic, pioneered by Melina Matsoukas, then a music-video director for Beyoncé and other artists, had been glammed up. The New Yorker, 22 Nov. 2021 The show’s entire aesthetic — the opening credits, the main character’s hair and costumes, the interiors and exteriors on the Bebop — are designed to signal a deep reverence for the original. Scott Meslow, Vulture, 20 Nov. 2021 To give you a good idea for the feel of the aesthetic, tone, and sound of the show. Andy Meek, BGR, 19 Nov. 2021 The publication married diverse interests with a funky, D.I.Y. aesthetic: sheet music here, a bomb shelter schematic there. New York Times, 8 Nov. 2021 The aesthetic has become shorthand for technical laziness. Daniel Dockery, Wired, 19 Nov. 2021 The ideas, the approach, the aesthetic keep me excited. Globe Correspondent, BostonGlobe.com, 17 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aesthetic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of aesthetic

Adjective

1797, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1822, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aesthetic

Adjective

borrowed from German ästhetisch "pertaining to taste or discernment," borrowed from New Latin aestheticus, borrowed from Greek aisthētikós "of sense perception, sensitive, perceptive," from aisthētós "sensible, perceptible" (verbal adjective of aisthánomai, aisthánesthai "to perceive, take notice of, understand," going back to *awis-th-, from *awis-, base of Greek aḯein "to perceive, hear" + -th-, resultative noun suffix) + -ikos -ic entry 1 — more at audible entry 1

Note: German aesthetisch/ästhetisch (New Latin aestheticus) was initially promulgated as a philosophical term in the work of Alexander Baumgarten (1714-62) and subsequently by Immanuel Kant.

Noun

borrowed from German Ästhetik, borrowed from New Latin aesthetica, from feminine of aestheticus aesthetic entry 1 — more at -ics

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Time Traveler for aesthetic

Time Traveler

The first known use of aesthetic was in 1797

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Dictionary Entries Near aesthetic

aesthete

aesthetic

aesthetic distance

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Statistics for aesthetic

Last Updated

4 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Aesthetic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aesthetic. Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for aesthetic

aesthetic

adjective
aes·​thet·​ic | \ es-ˈthe-tik How to pronounce aesthetic (audio) \

Kids Definition of aesthetic

: relating to beauty and what is beautiful They made aesthetic improvements to the building.

Other Words from aesthetic

aesthetically \ -​i-​kə-​lē \ adverb The garden has an aesthetically pleasing design.

aesthetic

adjective
aes·​thet·​ic | \ es-ˈthe-tik, British usually ēs- How to pronounce aesthetic (audio) \

Medical Definition of aesthetic

: done or made to improve a person's appearance or to correct defects in a person's appearance aesthetic plastic surgery Dentists are still drilling and filling, but the fastest growing part of the practices are aesthetic procedures, such as bleaching teeth and using tooth-colored material for fillings …— Sarah Skidmore, The San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 May 2005

More from Merriam-Webster on aesthetic

Nglish: Translation of aesthetic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aesthetic for Arabic Speakers

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