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aesthetics

[es-thet-iks or, esp. British, ees-] /ɛsˈθɛt ɪks or, esp. British, is-/
noun, (used with a singular verb)
1.
the branch of philosophy dealing with such notions as the beautiful, the ugly, the sublime, the comic, etc., as applicable to the fine arts, with a view to establishing the meaning and validity of critical judgments concerning works of art, and the principles underlying or justifying such judgments.
2.
the study of the mind and emotions in relation to the sense of beauty.
Also, esthetics.
Origin of aesthetics
1815-1825
1815-25; see aesthetic, -ics

aesthetic

or esthetic

[es-thet-ik or, esp. British, ees-] /ɛsˈθɛt ɪk or, esp. British, is-/
adjective
1.
relating to the philosophy of aesthetics; concerned with notions such as the beautiful and the ugly.
2.
relating to the science of aesthetics; concerned with the study of the mind and emotions in relation to the sense of beauty.
3.
having a sense of the beautiful; characterized by a love of beauty.
4.
relating to, involving, or concerned with pure emotion and sensation as opposed to pure intellectuality.
noun
5.
the philosophical theory or set of principles governing the idea of beauty at a given time and place:
the clean lines, bare surfaces, and sense of space that bespeak the machine-age aesthetic; the Cubist aesthetic.
6.
Archaic. the study of the nature of sensation.
Origin
1815-25; < New Latin aestheticus < Greek aisthētikós, equivalent to aisthēt(ḗs) (see aesthete) + -ikos -ic
Related forms
nonaesthetic, adjective
pseudoaesthetic, adjective
Can be confused
acetic, aesthetic, ascetic.
Synonyms
2. discriminating, cultivated, refined.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for aesthetics
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Only let no one suppose that what they write and talk is aesthetics; it is criticism, or just "shop."

    Art Clive Bell
  • But the whole volume is full of indirect suggestion on aesthetics.

    The Beautiful Vernon Lee
  • But it was the book on aesthetics that charmed me most of all.

  • Of this nature is a great deal of what has been written on aesthetics.

    The Sense of Beauty George Santayana
  • It would be as unprofitable to put a Rembrandt before a blind man as discuss the aesthetics of eyelashes with the unbeliever.

    Tales Of The Trains Charles James Lever
British Dictionary definitions for aesthetics

aesthetics

/iːsˈθɛtɪks; ɪs-/
noun (functioning as sing)
1.
the branch of philosophy concerned with the study of such concepts as beauty, taste, etc
2.
the study of the rules and principles of art
Word Origin
C18: from Greek aisthētikos perceptible by the senses, from aisthesthai to perceive

aesthetic

/iːsˈθɛtɪk; ɪs-/
adjective
1.
connected with aesthetics or its principles
2.
  1. relating to pure beauty rather than to other considerations
  2. artistic or relating to good taste: an aesthetic consideration
noun
3.
a principle of taste or style adopted by a particular person, group, or culture: the Bauhaus aesthetic of functional modernity
Derived Forms
aesthetically, (sometimes US) esthetically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for aesthetics
n.

1803, from aesthetic (also see -ics).

aesthetic

n.

1798, from German Ästhetisch or French esthétique, both from Greek aisthetikos "sensitive, perceptive," from aisthanesthai "to perceive (by the senses or by the mind), to feel," from PIE *awis-dh-yo-, from root *au- "to perceive" (see audience).

Popularized in English by translation of Immanuel Kant, and used originally in the classically correct sense "the science which treats of the conditions of sensuous perception." Kant had tried to correct the term after Alexander Baumgarten had taken it in German to mean "criticism of taste" (1750s), but Baumgarten's sense attained popularity in English c.1830s (despite scholarly resistance) and removed the word from any philosophical base. Walter Pater used it (1868) to describe the late 19c. movement that advocated "art for art's sake," which further blurred the sense. As an adjective by 1803. Related: Aesthetically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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aesthetics in Medicine

aesthetics aes·thet·ics or es·thet·ics (ěs-thět'ĭks)
n.
The study of psychological aspects of beauty, especially with the components thereof as they relate to appearance.

aesthetic aes·thet·ic or es·thet·ic (ěs-thět'ĭk)
adj.

  1. Relating to the sensations.

  2. Relating to esthetics.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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aesthetics in Culture

aesthetics definition


The branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of art and with judgments concerning beauty. “What is art?” and “What do we mean when we say something is beautiful?” are two questions often asked by aestheticians.

Note: The term aesthete is sometimes used negatively to describe someone whose pursuit of beauty is excessive or appears phony.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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