[ es-thet-iks or, esp. British, ees- ]
/ ɛsˈθɛt ɪks or, esp. British, is- /

noun (used with a singular verb)

the branch of philosophy dealing with such notions as the beautiful, the ugly, the sublime, the comic, etc., as applicable to the fine arts, with a view to establishing the meaning and validity of critical judgments concerning works of art, and the principles underlying or justifying such judgments.
the study of the mind and emotions in relation to the sense of beauty.

Nearby words

  1. aesthetical,
  2. aesthetically,
  3. aesthetician,
  4. aestheticism,
  5. aestheticize,
  6. aestival,
  7. aestivate,
  8. aestivation,
  9. aet.,
  10. aetatis suae

Also esthetics.

Origin of aesthetics

First recorded in 1815–25; see origin at aesthetic, -ics


or es·thet·ic

[ es-thet-ik or, esp. British, ees- ]
/ ɛsˈθɛt ɪk or, esp. British, is- /



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 formsnon·aes·thet·ic, adjectivepseu·do·aes·thet·ic, adjective

Can be confusedacetic aesthetic ascetic Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for aesthetics

British Dictionary definitions for aesthetics


sometimes US esthetics

/ (iːsˈθɛtɪks, ɪs-) /

noun (functioning as singular)

the branch of philosophy concerned with the study of such concepts as beauty, taste, etc
the study of the rules and principles of art

Word Origin for aesthetics

C18: from Greek aisthētikos perceptible by the senses, from aisthesthai to perceive


sometimes US esthetic

/ (iːsˈθɛtɪk, ɪs-) /

adjective Also: aesthetical, sometimes US esthetical

connected with aesthetics or its principles
  1. relating to pure beauty rather than to other considerations
  2. artistic or relating to good tastean aesthetic consideration


a principle of taste or style adopted by a particular person, group, or culturethe Bauhaus aesthetic of functional modernity
Derived Formsaesthetically or 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

Word Origin and History for aesthetics
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for aesthetics



The study of psychological aspects of beauty, especially with the components thereof as they relate to appearance.



Relating to the sensations.
Relating to esthetics.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Culture definitions for aesthetics


The branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of art and with judgments concerning beauty. “What is art?” and “What do we mean when we say something is beautiful?” are two questions often asked by aestheticians.


The term aesthete is sometimes used negatively to describe someone whose pursuit of beauty is excessive or appears phony.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.