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 Facebook’s artificial-intelligence systems comb through billions of posts looking for items that might match the company’s definitions of content that violates its rules. Jeff Horwitz, WSJ, 17 Oct. 2021 The share of respondents reporting the use of robotics and artificial-intelligence tools has more than tripled since the 2018 survey. Sheryl Estrada, Fortune, 11 Oct. 2021 Wrigley was the creator of Juicy Fruit, which is still popular today, with versions offering less sugar and artificial flavoring. Keira Wingate, USA TODAY, 30 Sep. 2021 There are three distinct schools of thought: 1) no-code programming, 2) artificial general intelligence (AGI), and 3) end-to-end robotic work cells. Bernard Casse, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021 Other companies working on the development of general-purpose systems or artificial general intelligence like Google’s DeepMind, IBM, and Microsoft also suggested changes to account for AI that can carry out multiple tasks. Khari Johnson, Wired, 1 Sep. 2021 The recipes boast all-natural ingredients and is free of artificial flavoring and preservatives. Donnie Lopez, Chron, 21 May 2021 New playgrounds to accommodate children with disabilities are being studied, along with new ball fields with artificial turf and a potential marina at Centennial’s Lake Sedgwick, according to preliminary plans. Mike Nolan,, 5 Oct. 2021 Benjamin said that all options are being considered, including the possibility of artificial turf, which has a 15-year span of use. cleveland, 28 Sep. 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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Dictionary Entries Near artificial



artificial accession

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Last Updated

20 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Artificial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 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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