1 of 5


: skill acquired by experience, study, or observation
the art of making friends
: a branch of learning:
: one of the humanities
arts plural : liberal arts
archaic : learning, scholarship
: an occupation requiring knowledge or skill
the art of organ building
: the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects
the art of painting landscapes
also : works so produced
a gallery for modern art
: one of the fine arts
: one of the graphic arts
archaic : a skillful plan
: the quality or state of being artful (see artful sense 2a)
: decorative or illustrative elements in printed matter


2 of 5


: produced as an artistic effort or for decorative purposes
an art film
art dolls
art music


3 of 5
ˈärt How to pronounce art (audio)

archaic present tense second-person singular of be


4 of 5




5 of 5

noun suffix

see -ard
Choose the Right Synonym for art

art, skill, cunning, artifice, craft mean the faculty of executing well what one has devised.

art implies a personal, unanalyzable creative power.

the art of choosing the right word

skill stresses technical knowledge and proficiency.

the skill of a glassblower

cunning suggests ingenuity and subtlety in devising, inventing, or executing.

a mystery plotted with great cunning

artifice suggests technical skill especially in imitating things in nature.

believed realism in film could be achieved only by artifice

craft may imply expertness in workmanship.

the craft of a master goldsmith

Example Sentences

Noun a piece of modern art It's a remarkable picture, but is it art? The museum has a large collection of folk art. He studied art in college.
Recent Examples on the Web
Then, weeks later, the album art, tracklist and release date also leaked. Lyndsey Havens, Billboard, 8 Mar. 2023 Sloan’s vast collection also includes books, wall paints, satin paints, stencils, fabrics, and kits for creating looks inspired by things like Murano glass, Scandinavian art, and the Charleston Farmhouse. Hollyanna Mccollom, Better Homes & Gardens, 8 Mar. 2023 In layman’s terms, that means apprenticeships, mentoring, and skill development within the creative industries—fashion, yes, but also art, entertainment, and tech. Otegha Uwagba, Harper's BAZAAR, 8 Mar. 2023 The March Discoveries sales showcase a wide range of paintings, prints, photographs, digital art, and sculptures spanning media and geographies over the last 150 years. Natasha Gural, Forbes, 7 Mar. 2023 The publication is focused on the intersection of art, film, music and fashion. Jolene Latimer, Peoplemag, 6 Mar. 2023 The city hopes eventually to add street furniture, public art, trees, murals and possibly outdoor entertainment venues. San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Mar. 2023 Our newsletter has the best concerts, art, shows and more — and the stories behind them Contact IndyStar reporter Domenica Bongiovanni at 317-444-7339 or The Indianapolis Star, 3 Mar. 2023 The premise was hammered home with album art (created by painter Beatriz Whitehill) that depicts spencer underwater holding a baby, symbolizing the mental state of so many people trying to stay afloat. Andre Gee, Rolling Stone, 3 Mar. 2023
New Orleans is a city of neighborhoods and experiencing Prospect asks visitors to traverse the city’s network of neighborhoods with venues ranging from the traditional, like museums, to public spaces to non-art venues. Chadd Scott, Forbes, 6 Nov. 2021 In fact, Smith did in America what Agnès b. was doing in France—turning a fashion brand into an anti-haute, pro-art, super-hip egalitarian statement. Laura Jacobs, WSJ, 12 June 2021 The Fre — a Taylor Mac fable about the costs of escaping a homophobic, anti-art background — took place in a ball pit. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 12 Mar. 2021 In July, the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) released findings of its survey of 760 museum directors, including those from non-art institutions, confirming the extent of the economic toll caused by pandemic closures. Jennifer G. Wolcott, The Christian Science Monitor, 14 Sep. 2020 That's an opportunity for cities to collaborate with the agency to make their road art street-legal. Scottie Andrew, CNN, 11 Oct. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'art.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History



Middle English, "craft, principles of a craft or a field of knowledge, one of the seven fields of study comprising the medieval school curriculum, practical knowledge, code of behavior," borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, "skill, craft, knowledge, deceit, sorcery," borrowed from Latin art-, ars "acquired skill, craftsmanship, stratagem, behavior (in plural artēs), systematic body of knowledge and techniques, profession, artistic achievement," going back to Indo-European *h2r̥-ti- "act of fitting or joining" (whence also, perhaps from an adverbialized locative, Greek árti "just now," arti- "fitting, correct," Armenian ard "just now," Lithuanian artì "close by"), nominal derivative from the verbal base *h2er- "fit, join" — more at arm entry 3

Note: M. de Vaan (Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the Other Italic Languages, Brill, 2008) also adduces from *h2r̥-ti- Old Avestan ārəiti- "reward" (Young Avestan aṣ̌i-). Compare, also with zero grade ablaut and -t- suffixes, Sanskrit ṛtáḥ "right, true," ṛtúḥ "fixed time, order, rule." See also article entry 1, artiodactyl.


from attributive use of art entry 1

Middle English, from Old English eart; akin to Old Norse est, ert (thou) art, Old English is is

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1853, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of art was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near art

Cite this Entry

“Art.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2
(ˈ)ärt How to pronounce art (audio)

archaic present 2nd singular of be


2 of 2 noun
: skill that comes through experience or study
the art of making friends
: a branch of learning
especially : one of the nonscientific branches of learning (as literature)
usually used in plural
a degree in the arts
: an occupation that requires knowledge or skill
cooking is an art
: the use of skill and creativity especially in the making of things that are beautiful to look at, listen to, or read
: the works (as pictures, poems, or songs) produced by artists

Medical Definition


accredited record technician
The education and training necessary to become an ART (accredited record technician) is available through a two-year associate degree program for medical records technicians at a junior or community college.The Chicago Tribune
assisted reproductive technology
A quarter century after the first "test tube" baby, the use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) has risen astronomically.Anna Mulrine, U.S. News & World Report
Nationally, about 107,000 ART procedures—which include IVF and related procedures that consist of the egg and sperm being handled outside the body—are performed.Helena Oliviero, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Legal Definition



More from Merriam-Webster on art

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