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[ahr-tuh-fish-uh l] /ˌɑr təˈfɪʃ əl/
made by human skill; produced by humans (opposed to natural):
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 assembled, imitation (def 11), synthetic (def 6).
Origin of artificial
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin artificiālis contrived by art; see artifice, -al1
Related forms
artificially, adverb
artificialness, noun
overartificial, adjective
overartificially, adverb
superartificial, adjective
superartificially, adverb
unartificial, adjective
unartificially, adverb
1. synthetic. 2, 3. counterfeit, factitious. 4. pretentious.
2. genuine, real. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for artificial
  • For the first time in history, surgeons early today implanted a permanent artificial heart to replace a dying human heart.
  • Removing the artificial wall between academic and public history is long overdue.
  • For hatchling sea turtles, artificial light is a killer.
  • The engines of the great food factories will be driven, not by artificial combustion, but by the underlying heat of the globe.
  • artificial intelligence pioneers point to advances made in law, medicine and other arenas as proof of the vitality of their work.
  • artificial lighting seems to be taking the largest toll on bird populations.
  • The goal of building a safe artificial heart has frustrated bioengineers for more than four decades.
  • Here's another situation where artificial turf made sense.
  • Making artificial limbs that can perform gross motor functions is relatively easy.
  • They must be tailored with specialized software, perhaps igniting a new industry for artificial intelligence applications.
British Dictionary definitions for artificial


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
Derived Forms
artificiality (ˌɑːtɪˌfɪʃɪˈælɪtɪ) noun
artificially, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin artificiālis belonging to art, from artificium skill, artifice
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 artificial

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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