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-​ \

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Moonbug treats children’s shows like a science, where every aesthetic choice or potential plot point is data-driven and rigorously tested with its target audience. New York Times, 6 May 2022 While sustainability is at the heart of the brand’s ethos, aesthetic appeal, of course, is still essential. Rujuta Vaidya, Vogue, 18 Apr. 2022 What anxieties did the brand tap into in order to make people accept its particular vision of aesthetic appeal and desirability as universal? Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 Apr. 2022 The benefits of silk pillowcases go far beyond aesthetic appeal. Jaimie Potters, Good Housekeeping, 16 Apr. 2022 Howell and Smith used similar language, praising the playing surface and overall aesthetic appeal. Adam Jardy, The Courier-Journal, 10 Apr. 2022 In the end, no fans in the Sunflower State will care about the game’s lack of aesthetic appeal. Eddie Timanus, USA TODAY, 5 Apr. 2022 Apple’s own versions of MagSafe chargers are functional, but don’t really do much in the way of aesthetic appeal. Brad Moon, Forbes, 13 Mar. 2022 The Freeman House, for example, was built without protective flashing on the roof, an aesthetic choice that ultimately contributed to continuous leaks. Los Angeles Times, 25 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Overall, the aesthetic is light and airy, with accents of earth tones and navy. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 26 Apr. 2022 Outside, the classic chalet aesthetic is somewhat mis-leading. Angelina Villa-clarke, Forbes, 13 Apr. 2022 The Firth-as-Darcy aesthetic is a thread that continues in Bridgerton’s second season through overt wet shirt nods but also more subtle references. Emma Fraser, Town & Country, 10 Apr. 2022 Olivia Rodrigo, Megan Thee Stallion, and Charli D'Amelio are among the celebs who’ve been delivering Y2K vibes left and right, proving just how influential the aesthetic really was. Jasmine Washington, Seventeen, 25 Mar. 2022 The aesthetic is dreamlike, with candies, hearts, flowers, and even tiny pill capsules in the mix, with everything intended to be layered for a more-is-more effect. Talia Abbas, Glamour, 8 Mar. 2022 That said, the aesthetic of this show is so powerful, the songs so fascinating, the conception so rich, you’ll be fully engaged. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, 3 Mar. 2022 Even the aesthetic of the food plating has been a consideration at the restaurant. John-john Williams Iv, baltimoresun.com, 24 Feb. 2022 Wallace wanted the aesthetic to be edgy while also maintaining a sense of realism, as befits the Queen of Hip Hop Soul. Emerald Elitou, Essence, 15 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About aesthetic

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

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Aesthetic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aesthetic. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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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

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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