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Arting up

the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.
the class 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) illustrative 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.

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 illustrations 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 pronoun thou) a singular form of the present tense (indicative mood) of be1
assisted 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, passed 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, tit art
airborne radiation thermometer
assisted reproductive technology

fine art
state of the art


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