the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.
the cl-ss of objects subject to aesthetic criteria; works of art collectively, as paintings, sculptures, or drawings: a museum of art;
an art collection.
see also , .
a field, genre, or category of art:
dance is an art.
the collectively, often excluding architecture:
art and architecture.
any field using the skills or techniques of art: advertising art;
industrial art.
a branch of learning or university study, especially one of the or , as music, philosophy, or literature: she was adept at the arts of music and painting;
i’ve always felt an affinity towards the visual arts, though i studied art of philosophy.

(used with a singular verb) , as distinguished from the sciences and technical fields:
a college of arts and sciences.
(used with a plural verb) :
faculty of arts.

skill in conducting any human activity: a master at the art of conversation;
from my mother, i learned the art of perfectly cooked pasta.
synonyms: knack, facility, technical skill, skillfulness, know-how.

the principles or methods governing any craft or branch of learning: the art of baking;
the art of selling.
synonyms: craft, technique, skill; procedure, method, way; fine points, subtleties.
the craft, trade, or profession using these principles or methods.

see also .
skilled workmanship, execution, or agency, as distinguished from nature.
trickery; cunning:
glib and devious art.
synonyms: craftiness, guile, slyness, wiliness, artfulness, intrigue, machination, scheming.
studied action; artificiality in behavior.
synonyms: deceit, deception, duplicity, imposture, falsehood.
antonyms: frankness, candor, openness, artlessness, ingenuousness, sincerity; truthfulness, honesty.
an artifice or artful device:
the innumerable arts and wiles of politics.
synonyms: contrivance, scheme, trick, tactic, stratagem, maneuver; subterfuge, ruse, dodge, feint, wile.
(in printed matter) ill-strative or decorative material:
is there any art with the copy for this story?
archaic. science, learning, or scholarship.
art up, to improve the aesthetic quality of (something) through some form of art: this dress is so plain, it could use some arting up.
i had an interior designer art up my apartment.
a male given name, form of .
contemporary examples

they had all the same taste in art and in friendships—in all the arts—and they liked to travel.
the reluctant rockefeller speaks out sandra mcelwaine september 14, 2013

faculties of arts and sciences: how should science relate to the arts?
great weekend reads the daily beast march 4, 2011

the wee ballerinas at the arts school, who range in age from five to 12 years old, have no memories of the brutal war.
the only ballerinas in all of abkhazia anna nemtsova december 6, 2013

she was also a patriot, a briton, and a wife, excelling at the arts that each of those categories demand of a person.
how margaret thatcher transformed british politics tunku varadarajan april 7, 2013

his shock – if not his indignation – is shared by mustafa ahmadzai, an arts major at the same university.
afghanistan: the taliban pile onto petraeus sami yousafzai november 15, 2012

historical examples

of all the arts it was music that cast over lilla the strongest spell.
sacrifice stephen french whitman

i have no subterfuges, no arts, no intentions, but to keep to the letter of them.
clarissa, volume 1 (of 9) samuel richardson

there is no accounting for tastes, we say, and in saying that we despair of progress in the arts.
progress and history various

fortunately, there are arts that cannot be cut off from the people by bad performances.
a treatise on parents and children george bernard shaw

it shall be known wherever the arts of civilization are known.
recitations for the social circle james clarence harvey

plural noun

the arts, imaginative, creative, and nonscientific branches of knowledge considered collectively, esp as studied academically
(as modifier): an arts degree

see fine art
cunning or crafty actions or plots; schemes

the creation of works of beauty or other special significance
(as modifier): an art movement

the exercise of human skill (as distinguished from nature)
imaginative skill as applied to representations of the natural world or figments of the imagination

the products of man’s creative activities; works of art collectively, esp of the visual arts, sometimes also music, drama, dance, and literature
(as modifier): an art gallery see also arts, fine art

excellence or aesthetic merit of conception or execution as exemplified by such works
any branch of the visual arts, esp painting
(modifier) intended to be artistic or decorative: art needlework

any field using the techniques of art to display artistic qualities: advertising art
(as modifier): an art film

(journalism) photographs or other ill-strations in a newspaper, etc
method, facility, or knack: the art of threading a needle, the art of writing letters
the system of rules or principles governing a particular human activity: the art of government
artfulness; cunning
get something down to a fine art, to become highly proficient at something through practice
(archaic) (used with the pr-noun thou) a singular form of the present tense (indicative mood) of be1
-ssisted reproductive technology

early 13c., “skill as a result of learning or practice,” from old french art (10c.), from latin artem (nominative ars) “work of art; practical skill; a business, craft,” from pie -ar-ti- (cf. sanskrit rtih “manner, mode;” greek arti “just,” artios “complete, suitable,” artizein “to prepare;” latin artus “joint;” armenian arnam “make;” german art “manner, mode”), from root -ar- “fit together, join” (see arm (n.1)).

in middle english usually with a sense of “skill in scholarship and learning” (c.1300), especially in the seven sciences, or liberal arts. this sense remains in bachelor of arts, etc. meaning “human workmanship” (as opposed to nature) is from late 14c. sense of “cunning and trickery” first attested c.1600. meaning “skill in creative arts” is first recorded 1610s; especially of painting, sculpture, etc., from 1660s. broader sense of the word remains in artless.

fine arts, “those which appeal to the mind and the imagination” first recorded 1767. expression art for art’s sake (1824) translates french l’art pour l’art. first record of art critic is from 1847. arts and crafts “decorative design and handcraft” first attested in the arts and crafts exhibition society, founded in london, 1888.

supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truths, p-ssed on from age to age, modified by individual genius, but never abandoned. the revolt of individualism came because the tradition had become degraded, or rather because a spurious copy had been accepted in its stead. [william butler yeats]


second person present indicative of be; old english eart. also see are (v.).

“produced with conscious artistry,” as opposed to popular or folk, 1890, from art (n.), possibly from influence of german kunstlied “art song” (cf. art film, 1960; art rock, 1968).


a photograph or photographs of criminals, esp wanted criminals; mug shot: art depicting the most wanted list is on post office bulletin boards (police)

related terms

state of the art, t-t art
automated radar terminal system
airborne radiation thermometer
-ssisted reproductive technology

fine art
state of the art

Read Also:

  • Arts and crafts

    the handcrafting and decoration of especially utilitarian objects. plural noun decorative handicraft and design, esp that of the arts and crafts movement, in late nineteenth-century britain, which sought to revive medieval craftsmanship

  • Arts and crafts movement

    a movement, originating in england c1860 as a reaction against poor-quality m-ss-produced goods, that sought to revive earlier standards of workmanship and design, conceiving of decoration and craftsmanship as a single ent-ty to be applied to the handcrafted production of both utilitarian and decorative objects, and that produced furniture, textiles, wallpaper, jewelry, and other items, […]

  • Arts medicine

    arts medicine arts medicine n. a branch of medicine dealing with the special health needs of artists, such as the injuries and disorders suffered by musicians that result from playing a musical instrument.

  • Artsiness

    . . adj. “pretentiously artistic,” 1902, from arts (see art (n.)); originally especially artsy-craftsy, with reference to the arts and crafts movement; always more or less dismissive or pejorative; artsy-fartsy was in use by 1971.

  • Artspeak

    artspeak language an early simple language for plotter graphics. [“the art of programming, artspeak”, henry mullish, courant inst (nov 1974)]. (1995-02-21)

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