ar·​ti·​san ˈär-tə-zən How to pronounce artisan (audio)
 chiefly British  ˌä-tə-ˈzan
: a worker who practices a trade or handicraft : craftsperson
a skilled artisan
: a person or company that produces something (such as cheese or wine) in limited quantities often using traditional methods
often used before another noun
artisan breads
artisanship noun

Did you know?

Artisans aren't the same as artists, but it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference. In the Middle Ages, artisans organized themselves into guilds. In every city each group of artisans—weavers, carpenters, shoemakers, and so on—had its own guild, which set wages and prices, kept standards high, and protected its members from outside competitors. In America, however, most artisans have always been fiercely independent. Today, when factories produce almost all of our goods, artisans usually make only fine objects for those who can afford them. And we now even include food among the artisan's crafts, so you can buy artisanal cheeses, breads, and chocolates—but probably not if you're watching your budget.

Examples of artisan in a Sentence

They sell rugs made by local artisans. we visited a re-created 19th-century New England village that features an array of artisans—a cooper, a carpenter, a blacksmith, a potter, a glassblower
Recent Examples on the Web The evening features two exclusive conversations with the year’s top TV artisans across contending categories. William Earl, Variety, 15 May 2024 Yet for Stone and other tribal artisans, protecting black ash trees – and their cultural and ecological value – is critical. Gaby Vinick, ABC News, 13 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for artisan 

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

Word History


borrowed from Middle French, borrowed from an Upper Italian equivalent of Italian (Tuscan) artigiano, from arte "craft, art entry 1" (going back to Latin art-, ars) + -igiano, adjective suffix of appurtenance, from Vulgar Latin *-ēs- (going back to Latin -ensis, adjective suffix of place) + Latin -iānus -ian

Note: See note at parmesan.

First Known Use

circa 1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of artisan was circa 1538

Dictionary Entries Near artisan

Cite this Entry

“Artisan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


ar·​ti·​san ˈärt-ə-zən How to pronounce artisan (audio)
: a skilled worker
especially : one (as a carpenter) whose occupation requires skill with the hands

More from Merriam-Webster on artisan

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