[es-thet-uh-siz-uh m or, esp. British, ees-]


the acceptance of artistic beauty and taste as a fundamental standard, ethical and other standards being secondary.
an exaggerated devotion to art, music, or poetry, with indifference to practical matters.
a late Victorian movement in British and American art characterized by a dedicatedly eclectic search for beauty and by an interest in old English, Japanese, and classical art.

Origin of aestheticism

First recorded in 1855–60; aesthetic + -ism Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for aestheticism

Historical Examples of aestheticism

  • The prevalence of such a sensualism or aestheticism would alone suffice to explain the impotence of the arts.

  • We may divide human artifacts into two classes, namely, those of utility and those of aestheticism.

  • The fifteenth century saw Japan ennoble it into a religion of aestheticism—Teaism.

    The Book of Tea

    Kakuzo Okakura

  • It will be interesting to note in what ritualistic harbor the aestheticism of our day will finally moor.

  • It is a custom that is instinctively condemned by everyone from the standpoint of both hygiene and aestheticism.

    Encyclopedia of Diet

    Eugene Christian

British Dictionary definitions for aestheticism


sometimes US estheticism


the doctrine that aesthetic principles are of supreme importance and that works of art should be judged accordingly
sensitivity to beauty, esp in art, music, literature, etc
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

Word Origin and History for aestheticism

1855, from aesthetic + -ism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper