ar·​ti·​fi·​cial | \ ˌär-tə-ˈfi-shᵊl How to pronounce artificial (audio) \

Definition of artificial

1 : humanly contrived (see contrive sense 1b) often on a natural model : man-made an artificial limb artificial diamonds
2a : having existence in legal, economic, or political theory
b : caused or produced by a human and especially social or political agency an artificial price advantage Within these companies, qualified women run into artificial barriers that prevent them from advancing to top positions in management.— James J. Kilpatrick
3a : lacking in natural or spontaneous quality an artificial smile an artificial excitement
b : imitation, sham artificial flavor
4 : based on differential morphological characters not necessarily indicative of natural relationships an artificial key for plant identification
5 obsolete : artful, cunning

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Other Words from artificial

artificiality \ ˌär-​tə-​ˌfi-​shē-​ˈa-​lə-​tē How to pronounce artificial (audio) \ noun
artificially \ ˌär-​tə-​ˈfi-​shᵊl-​ē How to pronounce artificial (audio) \ adverb
artificialness \ ˌär-​tə-​ˈfi-​shəl-​nəs How to pronounce artificial (audio) \ noun

Examples of artificial in a Sentence

the world's first artificial heart This product contains no artificial colors natural substances are used. The country's borders are artificial, and were set with no consideration for the various ethnic groups in the region.
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Recent Examples on the Web None of Aunt Jenn’s drinks have artificial flavoring, colors or syrups. Samantha Chery,, 13 July 2021 Built from scratch, NEOM will purportedly be powered by clean energy, run by artificial intelligence, enhanced by machine learning, serviced by robot maids and flying taxis, and illuminated every night by a giant artificial moon. Michael Eisner And Mustafa Qadri, CNN, 13 July 2021 In fact, try to keep usage of any electrical devices, along with artificial lighting, to a minimum to avoid producing additional heat. Kate Mabus, USA TODAY, 13 July 2021 An artificial pool built out of oak wood in what is now northern Italy likely hosted religious rituals some 3,400 years ago, during the Middle Bronze Age. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 July 2021 However, some specific foods actually can be culprits: For example, Joshi says foods with nitrates (anything that’s cured, such as lunch meats or bacon) and foods or drinks with aspartame (an artificial sweetener found in diet sodas). Ashley Abramson, Allure, 12 July 2021 Synthetic biologists like Romesberg have explored this by engineering artificial base pairs and additional amino acids to produce novel proteins. Quanta Magazine, 12 July 2021 The company's flagship product, Kinderlyte, is a natural, medical-grade hydration that helps with all forms of dehydration without artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors. Julie Jordan,, 12 July 2021 The space economy still has untapped possibilities and has historically served to incubate new technologies such as artificial limbs, cordless vacuums and GPS positioning. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, 12 July 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for artificial

Middle English, "devised by humans (as opposed to originating naturally or divinely)," borrowed from Middle French & Medieval Latin; Middle French artificiel, borrowed from Medieval Latin artificiālis "produced by human skill, skilled, artistic," going back to Latin, "furnished or contrived by art (in rhetoric)," from artificium "artistry, craftsmanship, craft" + -ālis -al entry 1 — more at artifice

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Time Traveler for artificial

Time Traveler

The first known use of artificial was in the 15th century

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Statistics for artificial

Last Updated

16 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Artificial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of artificial

: not natural or real : made, produced, or done to seem like something natural
: not happening or existing naturally : created or caused by people
: not sincere


ar·​ti·​fi·​cial | \ ˌär-tə-ˈfi-shəl How to pronounce artificial (audio) \

Kids Definition of artificial

1 : made by humans an artificial lake
2 : not natural in quality an artificial smile
3 : made to seem like something natural artificial flowers artificial flavoring

Other Words from artificial

artificially adverb


ar·​ti·​fi·​cial | \ ˌärt-ə-ˈfish-əl How to pronounce artificial (audio) \

Medical Definition of artificial

1 : humanly contrived often on a natural model an artificial limb
2 : based on differential morphological characters not necessarily indicative of natural relationships an artificial key for identification of a group of organisms

Other Words from artificial

artificially \ -​ˈfish-​(ə-​)lē How to pronounce artificial (audio) \ adverb

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Legal Definition of artificial

1a : made by humans artificial accessions — compare natural
b : caused or produced by a human and especially social or political agency an artificial price advantage
2 : arising through operation of law

Other Words from artificial

artificially adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on artificial

Nglish: Translation of artificial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of artificial for Arabic Speakers


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