Sunday, 11 March 2012

Word of the Week: Artifact

Today's word of the week was suggested by the lovely TerriLewis who's blog ties in nicely to the word! Head on over to check out her blog discussing antiques and their history. Let's get onto the word of the week! Artifact.

ar·ti·fact [ahr-tuh-fakt]
noun
1.
any object made by human beings, especially with a view tosubsequent use.
2.
a handmade object, as a tool, or the remains of one, as ashard of pottery, characteristic of an earlier time or culturalstage, especially such an object found at an archaeologicalexcavation.
3.
any mass-produced, usually inexpensive object reflectingcontemporary society or popular cultureartifacts of the poprock generation.
4.
a substance or structure not naturally present in the matterbeing observed but formed by artificial means, as duringpreparation of a microscope slide.
5.
a spurious observation or result arising from preparatory orinvestigative procedures.


The word artifact originates from the Latin word artefatto from arte which means 'by skill' and factum meaning 'thing made'. So quite literally, the word means 'thing made by skill' which makes perfect sense when we think about the artifacts that we uncover across the globe.

The definition of art is as follows;

art

1  
[ahrt]
noun
1.
the quality, production, expressionor realm, according toaesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or ofmore than ordinary significance.
2.
the class of objects subject to aesthetic criteria; works ofart collectively, as paintings, sculptures, or drawings: amuseum of art; an art collection.
3.
a field, genre, or category of art: Dance is an art.
4.
the fine arts collectively, often excluding architecture: artand architecture.
5.
any field using the skills or techniques of art: advertising art;industrial art.


The definition of fact is as follows;

fact

  [fakt]
noun
1.
something that actually exists; reality; truth: Your fears haveno basis in fact.
2.
something known to exist or to have happened: Space travelis now a fact.
3.
a truth known by actual experience or observation;something known to be true: Scientists gather facts aboutplant growth.


From these two definitions, I find the word artifact to be a beautiful and logical way to describe what artifacts are. They're beautiful discoveries of human made objects that exist.

The word is also lovely to say, crisply rolling off the tongue and adding a distinguished air to any conversation. I myself, haven't come across many (or perhaps any now that I come to think of it) artifacts, but the history of the word has indeed inspired me to change this about myself.

Any suggestions for next week's word of the week?


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