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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.
Contemporary Examples

And Romney as Remainderman is not a function of mere circumstance, but an artifact of explicit calculation.
Mitt Romney Is a Lot Like Thomas E. Dewey, the Equivocating Loser to Truman Robert Shrum June 17, 2012

The local housing shortage is an artifact of the national housing crisis.
DC Rents Are Falling. Are House Prices Next? Megan McArdle January 10, 2013

The newspaper column as we kno it is an artifact of telegraphy.
Happy Birthday, Twitter! David Frum March 20, 2013

Today, a lack of provenance often means one of two things: an artifact is forged or an artifact was illegally acquired.
Dismembering History: The Shady Online Trade in Ancient Texts Candida Moss November 22, 2014

The essay itself seems an artifact of a dying tradition, and not just in its grandiosity.
In Defense of Jonathan Franzen Michelle Goldberg September 25, 2013

Historical Examples

Written about in religious books, love starts a journey from naturalness to artifact.
The Civilization of Illiteracy Mihai Nadin

It was an artifact—a crumbling ruin, the remnant of an ancient structure whose original appearance I could not fathom.
Where the World is Quiet Henry Kuttner

The nature which science defines is an artifact or construct.
The Approach to Philosophy Ralph Barton Perry

Flaking—the removing of flakes from a core or artifact in flint working.
Handbook of Alabama Archaeology: Part I Point Types James W. Cambron

artifact (L)—an object of human workmanship, especially one of prehistoric origin.
Handbook of Alabama Archaeology: Part I Point Types James W. Cambron

a variant spelling of artefact

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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