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

Featuring more than 50 high-resolution images, lunar artifacts and interactive opportunities for all ages. Lisa Herendeen, The Mercury News, "23 events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 in SF Bay Area," 1 July 2019 South Florida, with its large Jewish population, is one of the country’s richest repositories of artifacts and eyewitness memories of Nazi-era atrocities. Catie Wegman, sun-sentinel.com, "Families donate Holocaust artifacts in 'race against time’," 26 June 2019 Buried by Vesuvius: Treasures from the Villa dei Papiri Rare artifacts and recent finds from the ancient Roman villa buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Matt Cooper, latimes.com, "SoCal museum listings, June 23-30: ‘Buried by Vesuvius’ at the Getty Villa and more," 21 June 2019 History can be told in a straightforward way, with historical artifacts and timelines. Susan Dunne, courant.com, "Two very different approaches to LGBTQ history at Atheneum, CHS," 18 June 2019 There are display boards and loads of artifacts and memorabilia including stadium seats, lockers, a ball cage, soccer shoes, a football helmet and baseball gloves. Rosemarie Dowell, orlandosentinel.com, "Smithsonian’s ‘Hometown Teams’ exhibit at Leesburg library celebrates America’s fascination for sports," 17 June 2019 Houston is a city committed to the history of our military with multiple sites designed to bring the best of what our nation was built on, with actual artifacts and experiences. Valerie Sweeten, Houston Chronicle, "UNIQUE AIRCRAFT," 9 June 2019 Mounted in collaboration with the Johnsville Centrifuge and Science Museum, the show features film clips, a replica of a spacecraft, Navy flight clothing, photographs, historic artifacts, and multimedia components. Stephan Salisbury, https://www.inquirer.com, "N.C. Wyeth, Penn Museum’s moving sphinx, Gee’s Bend quilters, and more museum highlights," 5 June 2019 Since the museum opened in fall 2016, visitors will be able to explore more than 400 years of artifacts and historical information detailing the African American experience. National Geographic, "13 destinations for African-American history and culture," 23 May 2019

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

11 Jul 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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