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90s Slang You Should Know


[ahr-tee] /ˈɑr ti/
adjective, artier, artiest. Informal.
characterized by a showy, pretentious, and often spurious display of artistic interest, manner, or mannerism.
Also, artsy.
Origin of arty
First recorded in 1900-05; art1 + -y1
Related forms
artily, adverb
artiness, noun


[ahr-tee] /ˈɑr ti/
a male given name, form of Arthur.


1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for arty
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was only a baby; and she had left him to run about with arty and Catty as if he were a big boy.

    The Judgment of Eve May Sinclair
  • They came as young as you, arty, and as weak as you, but no one ever made them do wrong.

    St. Winifred's Frederic W. Farrar
  • He linked his arm in arty Kane's and the two walked along the Strand, discussing the permutations of human feeling.

  • Nonsense, arty; the summer holidays will bring you round again.

    St. Winifred's Frederic W. Farrar
  • These foo lines comes from a umble but arty frend to command.

    Springhaven R. D. Blackmore
  • "Tha'rt a knivey nuisance, arty Morel," she said, sitting back.

    Sons and Lovers David Herbert Lawrence
  • But, while perusing these two books, we have had an 'umble and an 'arty laugh in the depths of our 'umiliation.

  • First comes my country, then my family; but first and last—my arty!

British Dictionary definitions for arty


adjective artier, artiest
(informal) having an ostentatious or affected interest in or desire to imitate artists or artistic standards
Derived Forms
artiness, noun
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 arty

1901, "having artistic pretentions," from art (n.) + -y (2); cf. artsy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for arty



Pretentiously and self-consciously artistic; straining for esthetic effect: an artsy-craftsy little boutique on Nantucket (1940s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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