artifact

noun
ar·​ti·​fact | \ ˈär-ti-ˌfakt How to pronounce artifact (audio) \

Definition of artifact

1a : a usually simple object (such as a tool or ornament) showing human workmanship or modification as distinguished from a natural object especially : an object remaining from a particular period caves containing prehistoric artifacts
b : something characteristic of or resulting from a particular human institution, period, trend, or individual … morality is an artifact of human culture, devised to help us negotiate social relations.— Michael Pollan
c : something or someone arising from or associated with an earlier time especially when regarded as no longer appropriate, relevant, or important … that over-simplified but eloquent quality that keeps Jefferson alive for us while Washington and Adams, his superiors in so many other respects, are artifacts of a quaint and lost world.— Jack Rakove
2a : a product of artificial character (as in a scientific test) due usually to extraneous (such as human) agency
b : an electrocardiographic and electroencephalographic wave that arises from sources other than the heart or brain
c : a defect in an image (such as a digital photograph) that appears as a result of the technology and methods used to create and process the image … can produce a very good picture, but there will be some loss of detail and some color artifacts such as adjacent colors bleeding into each other.Consumer Reports

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Other Words from artifact

artifactual \ ˌär-​ti-​ˈfak-​chə(-​wə)l How to pronounce artifactual (audio) , -​ˈfak-​shwəl , -​chü-​əl \ adjective

Did You Know?

One of the things that make humans unique is their ability to make and use tools, and ever since the first rough stone axes began to appear about 700,000 years ago, human cultures have left behind artifacts from which we've tried to draw a picture of their everyday life. The roots of artifact mean basically "something made with skill;" thus, a mere stone that was used for pounding isn't an artifact, since it wasn't shaped by humans for its purpose—unlike a ram's horn that was polished and given a brass mouthpiece and was blown as part of a religious ritual.

Examples of artifact in a Sentence

The caves contained many prehistoric artifacts. an artifact from the Colonial period

Recent Examples on the Web

For her first official appearance without her royal family members, Markle is celebrating the opening of Oceania, a new exhibit in the Royal Academy of Arts, which features over 500 years of historic works, art pieces, artifacts, and more. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Arrives To Her First Solo Event in Givenchy," 25 Sep. 2018 The only difference being that creatures, enchantments, and artifacts stay on the playing field whereas sorceries and instants are placed in your discard pile, also known as your graveyard, after casting their one-time effect. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "How to Play 'Magic: The Gathering': Everything You Need to Know," 19 Feb. 2019 Various artifacts show that women were engaged in sports, religious festivities, arts and cultural activities, wielding substantial power on public affairs from behind the screens. Sharmila Mukherjee, The Seattle Times, "SAM’s ‘Peacock in the Desert’ opens the doors of our perception to the marvelous," 2 Jan. 2019 As a last resort, archaeologists can excavate the site quickly, to ensure that the burial is scientifically documented and that human remains and important artifacts aren’t lost or destroyed. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Satellites watch over the graves of ancient steppe nomads," 26 Dec. 2018 More than 250 paintings, pieces of furniture, musical instruments, and other artifacts help put the Italian adventurer in context. BostonGlobe.com, "Five things to do around Greater Boston, July 2-15," 29 June 2018 Their harmony, both on stage and off, is the thread that runs through the entire museum exhibit, an expansive display of LBT stage wear, couture and artifacts. Nancy Kruh, PEOPLE.com, "Little Big Town Exhibit Showcases Career Highs, Lows — and a One-of-a-Kind Gift from Taylor Swift," 29 June 2018 The exhibit includes videos, old photographs and other artifacts to show how various animals served in the Navy. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "Sailor museum exhibit reveals stories of life-saving pigeons, morale-boosting dogs, mascots," 26 June 2018 The finds offer hope that more artifacts and specimens, currently believed destroyed, may yet emerge from the rubble. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Ancient skull found among debris in burned Brazilian museum," 25 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'artifact.' 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 artifact

1644, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for artifact

Latin arte by skill (ablative of art-, ars skill) + factum, neuter of factus, past participle of facere to do — more at arm, do

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Statistics for artifact

Last Updated

21 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for artifact

The first known use of artifact was in 1644

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More Definitions for artifact

artifact

noun
ar·​ti·​fact
variants: or chiefly British artefact \ ˈärt-​ə-​ˌfakt How to pronounce artefact (audio) \

Medical Definition of artifact

1 : a product of artificial character due to extraneous (as human) agency specifically : a product or formation in a microscopic preparation of a fixed tissue or cell that is caused by manipulation or reagents and is not indicative of actual structural relationships
2 : an electrocardiographic and electroencephalographic wave that arises from sources other than the heart or brain

Other Words from artifact

artifactual or chiefly British artefactual \ ˌärt-​ə-​ˈfak-​chə(-​wə)l, -​ˈfaksh-​wəl How to pronounce artefactual (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on artifact

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with artifact

Spanish Central: Translation of artifact

Nglish: Translation of artifact for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of artifact for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about artifact

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