made by human skill; produced by humans (opposed to ):
artificial flowers.
imitation; simulated; sham:
artificial vanilla flavoring.
lacking naturalness or spontaneity; forced; contrived; feigned:
an artificial smile.
full of affectation; affected; stilted:
artificial manners; artificial speech.
made without regard to the particular needs of a situation, person, etc.; imposed arbitrarily; unnatural:
artificial rules for dormitory residents.
Biology. based on arbitrary, superficial characteristics rather than natural, organic relationships:
an artificial system of classification.
Jewelry. manufactured to resemble a natural gem, in chemical composition or appearance.
Compare , (def 11), (def 6).
Contemporary Examples

In the end, the line between magic and religion may be something of an artificial one.
Harry Potter and the Torah of Terror Candida Moss, Joel Baden January 3, 2015

In response, the CIA commissioned the “Glass Ceiling Study” to see if artificial barriers against advancement existed.
The Women of the CIA Valerie Wilson January 23, 2010

Apartment dwellers might opt for an artificial tree instead of the real thing.
Yes, Megyn Kelly, Santa Can Be Black (and Jesus, Too) Jamelle Bouie December 11, 2013

The Irish Times reports that, “He had plans to install an artificial lake with swans at the back but it never came to fruition.”
Who Kidnapped Irish Millionaire Kevin McGeever? Tom Sykes February 4, 2013

To maintain the exclusion from combat roles creates an artificial boundary that women cannot cross.
‘Slut, Bitch, Dyke’—Joan of Arc and the Modern Military Woman Mariette Kalinowski August 20, 2013

Historical Examples

In the other form the tonic chord was artificial, that is to say, minor.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 13, Slice 1 Various

As yet the use of machinery and artificial manure is almost unknown.
The Roof of France Matilda Betham-Edwards

Nor does he give any reason, as that the moon was shining, or that some artificial light was present to dispel the darkness.
The Old Yellow Book Anonymous

I lead so artificial a life; but then I hope it is a useful one.
Alice, or The Mysteries, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton

The dyer mixes his dyes for the coloring of tons of valuable silk and the artist paints under this artificial light.
Artificial Light M. Luckiesh

produced by man; not occurring naturally: artificial materials of great strength
made in imitation of a natural product, esp as a substitute; not genuine: artificial cream
pretended; assumed; insincere: an artificial manner
lacking in spontaneity; affected: an artificial laugh
(biology) relating to superficial characteristics not based on the interrelationships of organisms: an artificial classification

late 14c., in the phrase artificial day “part of the day from sunrise to sunset,” from Old French artificial, from Latin artificialis “of or belonging to art,” from artificium (see artifice). Meaning “made by man” (opposite of natural) is from early 15c. Applied to things that are not natural, whether real (artificial light) or not (artificial flowers). Artificial insemination dates from 1897. Artificial intelligence “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines” was coined in 1956.


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