Definition of artifact
1 a : something created by humans usually for a practical purpose; 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 <self-consciousness … turns out to be an artifact of our education system — Times Literary Supplement>
2 : a product of artificial character (as in a scientific test) due usually to extraneous (as human) agency
artifactualplay \ˌär-ti-ˈfak-chə(-wə)l, -ˈfak-shwəl, -chü-əl\ adjective
Examples of artifact in a sentence
The caves contained many prehistoric artifacts.
an artifact from the Colonial period
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.
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
artifactualor chiefly British
artefactual\ˌärt-ə-ˈfak-chə(-wə)l, -ˈfaksh-wəl\play adjective
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up artifact? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).