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 An artificial-intelligence application called Sudowrite wrote the paragraph above. Stephen Marche, The New Yorker, "The Computers Are Getting Better at Writing," 30 Apr. 2021 This is the story of how affect recognition came to be part of the artificial-intelligence industry, and the problems that presents. Kate Crawford, The Atlantic, "Why We Shouldn’t Trust AI to Tell Us What We Feel," 27 Apr. 2021 Univision will also adopt Google’s artificial-intelligence tools to develop personalized content recommendations for its customers. Aaron Tilley, WSJ, "Google Bundles Products to Land Univision Cloud Deal," 26 Apr. 2021 Even TikTok would have brought new computing tasks for the cloud, provided reams of videos to train artificial-intelligence algorithms and allowed the firm to beef up its consumer business. The Economist, "Don’t be fooled by randomness The method in Microsoft’s merger madness," 15 Apr. 2021 There are days… Motherboard Issues From a conversation between Vladimir Alexeev, a data journalist, and GPT-3, a language generator developed by the artificial-intelligence laboratory OpenAI. Ishmael Reed, Harpers Magazine, "Archive: 2020," 13 Apr. 2021 Some think artificial general intelligence is near, while others say that today’s systems show no sign of intelligence at all. Calum Chace, Forbes, "The Mavericks Who Brought AI to the World - Review of “Genius Makers” by Cade Metz," 7 Apr. 2021 The team envisions doing the experiment at a time far in the future when the observer could be an artificial general intelligence (AGI) inside a quantum computer. Quanta Magazine, "A New Theorem Maps Out the Limits of Quantum Physics," 3 Dec. 2020 Evidence of a fourth fire was later discovered at Rocky Marciano Stadium where an item was burned on the football field, causing damage to the artificial turf, officials said in the release. Emily Sweeney,, "Four arson fires set in Brockton overnight," 17 Mar. 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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Last Updated

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Artificial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 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

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