artificial

adjective

ar·​ti·​fi·​cial ˌär-tə-ˈfi-shᵊl How to pronounce artificial (audio)
1
: humanly contrived (see contrive sense 1b) often on a natural model : man-made
an artificial limb
artificial diamonds
2
a
: 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
3
a
: 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
artificially adverb
artificialness 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.
Recent Examples on the Web Other rums, however, namely those produced in Latin America, traditionally have sugar added after distillation, as well as artificial coloring and/or flavoring. Tony Sachs, Robb Report, 29 Mar. 2024 Both will readily take live bait and artificial lures, including many of the same baits and lures. Shaye Baker, Field & Stream, 28 Mar. 2024 Forge takes her in and the two bond over their respective losses; Forge lost some of his limbs and, with the help of his mutant ability to instantly understand how mechanical devices work, gave himself artificial appendages. Nick Romano, EW.com, 28 Mar. 2024 To enjoy the vibrant colors — and not kill another poor plant — this artificial flower basket from HyeFlora is a winning choice. Melissa Epifano, Peoplemag, 24 Mar. 2024 Along an artificial river, vendors sold coconuts and durian fruit to young tourists dressed in the traditional costumes of ethnic minorities. Christina Knight, The Atlantic, 23 Mar. 2024 Steroid eye drops or artificial tears can reduce eye redness. Cindy Kuzma, Health, 16 Mar. 2024 While brush and other greenery in the surrounding lands withered long ago, fresh water still arrives in Peine through artificial channels and water centers built by the companies, flowing from fresh water wells in nearby peaks. Megan Janetsky, Victor R. Caivano and Rodrigo Abd, Quartz, 13 Mar. 2024 Newsom has signed laws that prohibit PFAs in food packaging and in cosmetics but vetoed other proposals to ban the chemicals in cleaning products and artificial turf, citing similar regulation problems. Mackenzie Mays, Los Angeles Times, 12 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'artificial.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near artificial

Cite this Entry

“Artificial.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/artificial. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

artificial

adjective
ar·​ti·​fi·​cial ˌärt-ə-ˈfish-əl How to pronounce artificial (audio)
1
: made, produced, or performed by human beings often following a natural model or process
artificial flowers
artificial pollination
2
: not genuine or sincere : forced
an artificial smile
artificially adverb
Etymology

Middle English artificial "made or done by humans rather than occurring in nature," from early French artificiel (same meaning) or Latin artificialis "contrived by art," from Latin artificium "skill, artistry, craft," derived from arti- (from art-, ars "skill") and facere "to make, do" — related to fashion, manufacture, perfect

Medical Definition

artificial

adjective
ar·​ti·​fi·​cial ˌärt-ə-ˈfish-əl How to pronounce artificial (audio)
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
artificially adverb

Legal Definition

artificial

adjective
ar·​ti·​fi·​cial
1
a
: 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
artificially adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on artificial

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