[ ahrt ]
See synonyms for art on
  1. the quality, production, expression, or realm of things that conform to accepted aesthetic principles of beauty, show imagination and skill, and have more than ordinary meaning and importance: Art is a characteristic human activity.My parents and I disagree about what qualifies as art.

  2. the class of objects that meet or are subject to aesthetic criteria; objects considered beautiful, imaginative, skillful, and meaningful collectively, such as paintings, sculptures, or drawings: The palace houses a remarkable collection of art.The local museum of art currently has a special exhibit of the works of Kurelek.: See also fine art, commercial art.

  1. the visual or fine arts collectively, often excluding architecture: She dabbled in art, including painting and sculpture.

  2. the arts, the fine arts together with literature and the performing arts: I attended a high school that emphasized the arts, and I took every drama course I could.There never seems to be enough public funding for the arts.

  3. a field, genre, or category of creative, imaginative, skilled activity that meets or is subject to aesthetic criteria: Poetry and dance are arts.

  4. any craft or field of creative activity applying aesthetic principles, skill, and technique: She does graphic art for an advertising company.

  5. arts,

    • the cluster of academic disciplines dealing with art, literature, languages, philosophy, etc., as distinct from the natural and social sciences and the technical or professional fields; the humanities: He teaches in the College of Arts and Sciences.There are fewer opportunities these days for graduates with a degree in arts.

    • the humanities together with the natural and social sciences, as opposed to the professional and technical fields; liberal arts: Are you at the Faculty of Arts, or at one of the professional faculties?

  6. a branch of learning or university study, especially one of the fine arts or the humanities, such as music, philosophy, or literature: We attended a brilliant lecture on the role of the arts of philosophy and rhetoric in expanding knowledge.

  7. : See also term of art.

    • the principles, techniques, or methods governing any craft, trade, or profession: the art of baking;the art of selling.

    • the craft, trade, or profession using these principles, techniques, or methods.

  8. skill in conducting any human activity: You are a master at the art of conversation!From my mother, I learned the art of making perfectly cooked pasta.

  9. skilled workmanship, execution, or agency, as distinguished from nature:Do these shrubs in your garden owe their shape to art or to nature?

  10. (in printed matter) illustrative or decorative material: Is there any art with the copy for this story?

  11. trickery or cunning, or an instance of this: Don’t be taken in by their devious art.She is adept at the innumerable arts and wiles of politics.

  12. pretense or artificiality in behavior: He had a manner free of art and affectation.

  13. Archaic. science, learning, or scholarship.

Verb Phrases
  1. art up, to improve the aesthetic quality of (something) through some form of art: This dress is so plain, it could use some arting up.I had an interior designer art up my apartment.

Origin of art

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English, from Old French, from Latin ars (stem art- ) “skill, craft, craftsmanship”

Other words for art

Opposites for art

Words Nearby art

Other definitions for art (2 of 6)

[ ahrt ]

  1. 2nd person singular present indicative of be.

Origin of art

First recorded before 950; Middle English; Old English eart, equivalent to ear- (see are1) + -t ending of 2nd person singular

Other definitions for Art (3 of 6)

[ ahrt ]

  1. a male given name, form of Arthur.

Other definitions for ART (4 of 6)


  1. article: often used to represent the class of determiners, including words such as this, that, and some as well as the articles a, an, and the.

Other definitions for -art (5 of 6)


  1. variant of -ard: braggart.

Other definitions for art. (6 of 6)


  1. plural arts. article; articles.

  2. artificial.

  1. artillery.

  2. artist. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use art in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for art (1 of 4)


/ (ɑːt) /

    • the creation of works of beauty or other special significance

    • (as modifier): an art movement

  1. the exercise of human skill (as distinguished from nature)

  1. imaginative skill as applied to representations of the natural world or figments of the imagination

    • the products of man's creative activities; works of art collectively, esp of the visual arts, sometimes also music, drama, dance, and literature

    • (as modifier): an art gallery See also arts, fine art

  2. excellence or aesthetic merit of conception or execution as exemplified by such works

  3. any branch of the visual arts, esp painting

  4. (modifier) intended to be artistic or decorative: art needlework

    • any field using the techniques of art to display artistic qualities: advertising art

    • (as modifier): an art film

  5. journalism photographs or other illustrations in a newspaper, etc

  6. method, facility, or knack: the art of threading a needle; the art of writing letters

  7. the system of rules or principles governing a particular human activity: the art of government

  8. artfulness; cunning

  9. get something down to a fine art to become highly proficient at something through practice

Origin of art

C13: from Old French, from Latin ars craftsmanship

British Dictionary definitions for art (2 of 4)


/ (ɑːt) /

  1. archaic (used with the pronoun thou) a singular form of the present tense (indicative mood) of be 1

Origin of art

Old English eart, part of bēon to be

British Dictionary definitions for ART (3 of 4)


abbreviation for
  1. assisted reproductive technology

British Dictionary definitions for -art (4 of 4)


suffix forming nouns
  1. a variant of -ard

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with art


see fine art; state of the art.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.