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 With artifacts, news clippings and interactive exhibits, the museum is an invaluable resource for history enthusiasts or people with memories of the massacre or the victims, including the four students killed and nine wounded. Robin Goist, cleveland, "Take a virtual tour of Kent State’s May 4 museum," 2 May 2020 The attack began by Fishmonger’s Hall, a historic building and events space on the London Bridge replete with famed fishing artifacts, two massive narwhal tusks included. Washington Post, "The narwhal tusk has a wondrous and mystical history. A new chapter was added on London Bridge.," 30 Nov. 2019 The attack began by Fishmongers' Hall, a historic building and events space on the London Bridge replete with famed fishing artifacts, two massive narwhal tusks included. Author: Miriam Berger, Anchorage Daily News, "The narwhal tusk has a wondrous and mystical history. A new chapter was added on London Bridge.," 30 Nov. 2019 But like art made in other arenas, prison art exists in relation to economies, power structures governing resources and access, and discourses that legitimate certain works as art and others as craft, material object, historical artifact, or trash. Nicole R. Fleetwood, The New York Review of Books, "Creation in Confinement: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration," 28 Apr. 2020 The museum became an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, giving it access to artifacts, traveling exhibits and collaborations. Los Angeles Times, "Irene Hirano Inouye, champion of Japanese American causes, dies at 71," 16 Apr. 2020 The London artifacts—a large collection of mostly shards and fragments—have long been believed to be of particular significance, according to a University of Bristol statement. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Traces of Millennia-Old Milk Help Date Pottery Fragments to Neolithic London," 15 Apr. 2020 Goodrich was originally from Oregon and served as a Marine during the Vietnam war, Montefiore Einstein said, and he was known for his passion for historical artifacts, travel and surfing. Mallory Simon, CNN, "New York neurosurgeon who separated conjoined twins dies from complications of Covid-19," 30 Mar. 2020 The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame houses artifacts, trophies, art, and exhibits on the history of horse racing. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, "The Best Places to Travel in June," 13 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for artifact

Time Traveler

The first known use of artifact was in 1644

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Statistics for artifact

Last Updated

15 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Artifact.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/artifact. Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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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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