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[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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for arty
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • No, really, I like some of the others—four or five of them; but I don't like arty.

    The Tragic Muse

    Henry James
  • 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
  • Why, arty, your illness is all the more reason why I should.

    St. Winifred's Frederic W. Farrar
  • Nonsense, arty; the summer holidays will bring you round again.

    St. Winifred's Frederic W. Farrar
  • How they did go on about Wellintun, and what an arty contamp they ad for him!

    Burlesques William Makepeace Thackeray
  • "Tha'rt a knivey nuisance, arty Morel," she said, sitting back.

    Sons and Lovers David Herbert Lawrence
  • First comes my country, then my family; but first and last—my arty!

  • "Tha'rt a nivey nuisance, arty Morel," she said, sitting back.

    Sons and Lovers David Herbert Lawrence
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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