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[es-thet-iks] /ɛsˈθɛt ɪks/
noun, (used with a singular verb)


or esthetic

[es-thet-ik or, esp. British, ees-] /ɛsˈθɛt ɪk or, esp. British, is-/
relating to the philosophy of aesthetics; concerned with notions such as the beautiful and the ugly.
relating to the science of aesthetics; concerned with the study of the mind and emotions in relation to the sense of beauty.
having a sense of the beautiful; characterized by a love of beauty.
relating to, involving, or concerned with pure emotion and sensation as opposed to pure intellectuality.
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.
a particular individual’s set of ideas about style and taste, along with its expression:
the designer’s aesthetic of accessible, wearable fashion; a great aesthetic on her blog.
one’s set of principles or worldview as expressed through outward appearance, behavior, or actions: the
democratic aesthetic of the abolitionists.
Archaic. the study of the nature of sensation.
Origin of aesthetic
1795-1800; < New Latin aesthēticus < Greek aisthētikós “pertaining to sense perception, perceptible, sensitive” equivalent to aisthēt(ḗs) (see aesthete) + -ikos -ic
Related forms
nonaesthetic, adjective
pseudoaesthetic, adjective
Can be confused
acetic, aesthetic, ascetic.
3. discriminating, cultivated, refined. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for esthetics
Historical Examples
  • Drafts for the dedication, the preface, and for a work on esthetics.

    Albert Durer T. Sturge Moore
  • There is a lecture on the esthetics of modern art at Philamo Hall.

  • What has the author to say of education, religion and esthetics?

    The Complete Club Book for Women Caroline French Benton
  • Associated words: esthetics, æsthetic, æstheticism, æsthete.

    Putnam's Word Book Louis A. Flemming
  • These flowers were the only concession to esthetics that Mr. Flint indulged.

    The Blood Red Dawn Charles Caldwell Dobie
  • The Neapolitan was one of those most preoccupied with esthetics.

    Csar or Nothing Po Baroja Baroja
  • On passing through the spectacular aspects of lighting we finally emerge into the esthetics of light and lighting.

    Artificial Light M. Luckiesh
  • It is attractive in style and indicates an abundant familiarity with the subject, both as a naturalist and a student of esthetics.

  • It is not by reading manuals of esthetics, but by leaning on nature herself that the artist discovers and expresses beauty.

  • The ignorant and the professors of esthetics who do not know the source of all this have named it Greek idealism.

British Dictionary definitions for esthetics


/iːsˈθɛtɪk; ɪs-/
connected with aesthetics or its principles
  1. relating to pure beauty rather than to other considerations
  2. artistic or relating to good taste: an aesthetic consideration
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 esthetics



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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esthetics in Medicine

esthetics es·thet·ics (ěs-thět'ĭks)
Variant of aesthetics.

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

  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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