the branch of philosophy dealing with such notions as the beautiful, the ugly, the sublime, the comic, etc., as applicable to the fine arts, with a view to establishing the meaning and validity of critical judgments concerning works of art, and the principles underlying or justifying such judgments.
the study of the mind and emotions in relation to the sense of beauty.
relating to the philosophy of ; concerned with notions such as the beautiful and the ugly.
relating to the science of aesthetics; concerned with the study of the mind and emotions in relation to the sense of beauty.
having a sense of the beautiful; characterized by a love of beauty.
relating to, involving, or concerned with pure emotion and sensation as opposed to pure intellectuality.
the philosophical theory or set of principles governing the idea of beauty at a given time and place:
the clean lines, bare surfaces, and sense of space that bespeak the machine-age aesthetic; the Cubist aesthetic.
Archaic. the study of the nature of sensation.
Contemporary Examples

To Vorotnikov and his wife, aesthetics and diplomacy have long ceased being a part of the discussion.
Russian Protesters Use Art as Act of War Anna Nemtsova January 5, 2012

The newspaper interviews two industrial designers—both of whom place value on the aesthetics of more “invisible” technologies.
Jennifer Lawrence Gets ‘Chopped’; Viktor & Rolf Return to Couture The Fashion Beast Team April 21, 2013

We often talk about religion in terms of commitment and ideology, but the aesthetics and experience matter, too.
Is American Christianity Becoming a Workout Cult? Michael Schulson April 26, 2014

Page has also been talking about aesthetics and the need to make things more “beautiful.”
Google Targets Rival Facebook With Tough New Privacy Policies Dan Lyons January 29, 2012

Go ahead, write M.I.A. off as a faux-radical relying on the aesthetics of revolution to sell records.
M.I.A.’s ‘Matangi’ Is A Defiantly Personal Reclamation of the Brown Girl Narrative Rawiya Kameir November 7, 2013

Historical Examples

Only let no one suppose that what they write and talk is aesthetics; it is criticism, or just “shop.”
Art Clive Bell

But the whole volume is full of indirect suggestion on aesthetics.
The Beautiful Vernon Lee

But it was the book on aesthetics that charmed me most of all.
Recollections Of My Childhood And Youth George Brandes

Of this nature is a great deal of what has been written on aesthetics.
The Sense of Beauty George Santayana

It would be as unprofitable to put a Rembrandt before a blind man as discuss the aesthetics of eyelashes with the unbeliever.
Tales Of The Trains Charles James Lever

noun (functioning as sing)
the branch of philosophy concerned with the study of such concepts as beauty, taste, etc
the study of the rules and principles of art
connected with aesthetics or its principles

relating to pure beauty rather than to other considerations
artistic or relating to good taste: an aesthetic consideration

a principle of taste or style adopted by a particular person, group, or culture: the Bauhaus aesthetic of functional modernity

1803, from aesthetic (also see -ics).

1798, from German Ästhetisch or French esthétique, both from Greek aisthetikos “sensitive, perceptive,” from aisthanesthai “to perceive (by the senses or by the mind), to feel,” from PIE *awis-dh-yo-, from root *au- “to perceive” (see audience).

Popularized in English by translation of Immanuel Kant, and used originally in the classically correct sense “the science which treats of the conditions of sensuous perception.” Kant had tried to correct the term after Alexander Baumgarten had taken it in German to mean “criticism of taste” (1750s), but Baumgarten’s sense attained popularity in English c.1830s (despite scholarly resistance) and removed the word from any philosophical base. Walter Pater used it (1868) to describe the late 19c. movement that advocated “art for art’s sake,” which further blurred the sense. As an adjective by 1803. Related: Aesthetically.

aesthetics aes·thet·ics or es·thet·ics (ěs-thět’ĭks)
The study of psychological aspects of beauty, especially with the components thereof as they relate to appearance.

aesthetic aes·thet·ic or es·thet·ic (ěs-thět’ĭk)

Relating to the sensations.

Relating to esthetics.

The branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of art and with judgments concerning beauty. “What is art?” and “What do we mean when we say something is beautiful?” are two questions often asked by aestheticians.

Note: The term aesthete is sometimes used negatively to describe someone whose pursuit of beauty is excessive or appears phony.


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