[ es-thet-uh-siz-uhm or, especially British, ees- ]
/ ɛsˈθɛt əˌsɪz əm or, especially British, is- /
Save This Word!


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.



Apostrophes can be tricky; prove you know the difference between it’s and its in this crafty quiz!
Question 1 of 12
On the farm, the feed for chicks is significantly different from the roosters’; ______ not even comparable.

Origin of aestheticism

First recorded in 1855–60; aesthetic + -ism
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for aestheticism


sometimes US estheticism

/ (iːsˈθɛtɪˌsɪzəm, ɪs-) /


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
What's This Word?