or es·thet·ics

[ es-thet-iks or, especially British, ees- ]
See synonyms for aesthetics on
noun(used with a singular verb)
  1. 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.

  2. the study of the mind and emotions in relation to the sense of beauty.

Origin of aesthetics

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

Words Nearby aesthetics Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use aesthetics in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for aesthetics


sometimes US esthetics

/ (iːsˈθɛtɪks, ɪs-) /

noun(functioning as singular)
  1. the branch of philosophy concerned with the study of such concepts as beauty, taste, etc

  2. the study of the rules and principles of art

Origin of aesthetics

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

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

Cultural 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.

Notes for aesthetics

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.