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  1. a person who produces works in any of the arts that are primarily subject to aesthetic criteria.
  2. a person who practices one of the fine arts, especially a painter or sculptor.
  3. a person whose trade or profession requires a knowledge of design, drawing, painting, etc.: a commercial artist.
  4. a person who works in one of the performing arts, as an actor, musician, or singer; a public performer: a mime artist; an artist of the dance.
  5. a person whose work exhibits exceptional skill.
  6. a person who is expert at trickery or deceit: He's an artist with cards.
  7. Obsolete. an artisan.

Origin of artist

1575–85; < Middle French artiste < Medieval Latin artista master of arts. See art1, -ist
Can be confusedartisan artist artiste (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonym study

1. Artist, artisan, artiste are persons having superior skill or ability, or who are capable of producing superior work. An artist is a person engaged in some type of fine art. An artisan is engaged in a craft or applied art. An artiste is usually a skilled public performer. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for artist

Contemporary Examples of artist

Historical Examples of artist

British Dictionary definitions for artist


  1. a person who practises or is skilled in an art, esp painting, drawing, or sculpture
  2. a person who displays in his work qualities required in art, such as sensibility and imagination
  3. a person whose profession requires artistic expertise, esp a designera commercial artist
  4. a person skilled in some task or occupationan artist at bricklaying
  5. obsolete an artisan
  6. slang a person devoted to or proficient in somethinga booze artist; a con artist
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 artist

1580s, "one who cultivates one of the fine arts," from Middle French artiste (14c.), from Italian artista, from Medieval Latin artista, from Latin ars (see art (n.)).

Originally used especially of the arts presided over by the Muses (history, poetry, comedy, tragedy, music, dancing, astronomy), but also used 17c. for "one skilled in any art or craft" (including professors, surgeons, craftsmen, cooks). Now especially of "one who practices the arts of design or visual arts" (a sense first attested 1747).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper