any object made by human beings, especially with a view to subsequent use.
a handmade object, as a tool, or the remains of one, as a shard of pottery, characteristic of an earlier time or cultural stage, especially such an object found at an archaeological excavation.
any mass-produced, usually inexpensive object reflecting contemporary society or popular culture:
artifacts of the pop rock generation.
a substance or structure not naturally present in the matter being observed but formed by artificial means, as during preparation of a microscope slide.
a spurious observation or result arising from preparatory or investigative procedures.
any feature that is not naturally present but is a product of an extrinsic agent, method, or the like:
statistical artifacts that make the inflation rate seem greater than it is.
Historical Examples

Speculation goes as far as to suggest that these human beings became increasingly dependent on artifactual means of notation.
The Civilization of Illiteracy Mihai Nadin

a variant spelling of artefact

also artefactual, 1914, from artifact + -al (1).

1821, artefact, “anything made by human art,” from Italian artefatto, from Latin arte “by skill” (ablative of ars “art;” see art (n.)) + factum “thing made,” from facere “to make, do” (see factitious). The spelling with -i- is by 1884, by influence of the Latin stem. Archaeological application dates from 1890.

artifact ar·ti·fact or ar·te·fact (är’tə-fākt’)

A structure or substance not normally present but produced by an external agent or action, such as a structure seen in a microscopic specimen after fixation that is not present in the living tissue.

A skin lesion produced or perpetuated by self-inflicted action.

ar’ti·fac·ti’tious (-fāk-tĭsh’əs) or ar’ti·fac’tu·al (-fāk’chu-əl) adj.
artifact also artefact

An object produced or shaped by human craft, especially a tool, weapon, or ornament of archaeological or historical interest.

An artificial product or effect observed in a natural system, especially one introduced by the technology used in scientific investigation or by experimental error.


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    a clever trick or stratagem; a cunning, crafty device or expedient; wile. trickery; guile; craftiness. cunning; ingenuity; inventiveness: a drawing-room comedy crafted with artifice and elegance. a skillful or artful contrivance or expedient. Contemporary Examples He is unfailingly polite and contrite, still slightly awkward with the artifice of campaigning after all these years. South Carolina […]

  • Artificer

    a person who is skillful or clever in devising ways of making things; inventor. a skillful or artistic worker; craftsperson. Historical Examples But the secret of these rose windows is unknown to the Tuscan artificer. The Well of Saint Clare Anatole France To what artificer, is not Picture, a great pleasure and Commoditie? The Mathematicall […]

  • Artificial aids

    Manège. (def 6b). Historical Examples All artificial aids to beauty should be sparingly used, and have no place whatever upon the toilet table of the young girl. Social Life Maud C. Cooke Hence, the universal craving for artificial aids to digestion. Smoking and Drinking James Parton Brief information as to all artificial aids to navigation […]

  • Artificial aid

    Manège. (def 6b). Historical Examples Having “influence” to help them, they usually rely on this artificial aid—seldom upon themselves. The Young Man and the World Albert J. Beveridge An artificial aid to conversation and the repetition of threadbare stories, generally off-color. The Roycroft Dictionary Elbert Hubbard Then I can fill my cup without any artificial […]

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