There are 2 main definitions of art in English:

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art 1

Syllabification: art


1The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power: the art of the Renaissance great art is concerned with moral imperfections she studied art in Paris
More example sentences
  • If the show can be taken as a barometer of visual art in this country, there is much to be excited about.
  • The works of both artists attest to their belief in the transforming power of art in society.
  • Well what was happening was a demonstration of the power of art to institute communion.
1.1Works produced by human creative skill and imagination: his collection of modern art an exhibition of Mexican art [as modifier]: an art critic
More example sentences
  • The Niland Gallery has one of the finest collections of modern Irish art in the world.
  • So the labels and the catalogue are of greater importance here than in an exhibition of more modern art.
  • What was striking about this year's fair was the appearance of more modern and contemporary art.
1.2Creative activity resulting in the production of paintings, drawings, or sculpture: she’s good at art
More example sentences
  • She had a real flair for art and did some brilliant drawings and paintings while she was here.
  • This event features a range of activities across art, music, dance and film-making.
  • There is already table tennis but centre workers would like more activities, such as art projects.
2 (the arts) The various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance: the visual arts [in singular]: the art of photography
More example sentences
  • Ingram first became involved with music and the arts through the dance program at SFU.
  • The charity will also concentrate on funding the arts through sponsorship of music, ballet, opera and film.
  • Boys are less likely than girls to read and take part in music and the arts.
3 (arts) Subjects of study primarily concerned with the processes and products of human creativity and social life, such as languages, literature, and history (as contrasted with scientific or technical subjects): the belief that the arts and sciences were incompatible the Faculty of Arts
More example sentences
  • These will focus on the teaching of technology, modern languages, arts and science.
  • At school, she will excel at the arts subjects, and will also develop a love of literature.
  • It was after she had studied business and arts at college in Bangkok that McIntosh came to wider public prominence.
4A skill at doing a specified thing, typically one acquired through practice: the art of conversation
More example sentences
  • How important was the ability to practice the art of seduction for a modern spy?
  • No one knows for certain in what epoch the Arabs began to practice the art of balladry.
  • It's quite an art actually; it's amazing the speed that some of these line managers can work at.
skill, craft, technique, knack, facility, ability, know-how


Middle English: via Old French from Latin ars, art-.

  • Originally art was simply ‘skill at doing something’. Its use in the modern sense dates from the early 17th century. The word comes from Latin ars, from a base which meant ‘to put together, join, or fit’. There are many related words which stress the more practical roots of the word. These include artefact (early 19th century) from Latin arte factum ‘something made by art’; artifice (Late Middle English) from the same roots; and artisan from the Latin for ‘instructed in the arts’. The phrase art for art's sake conveys the idea that the chief or only aim of a work of art is the self-expression of the artist who creates it. It was the slogan of the Aesthetic Movement, which flourished in England during the 1880s. The Latin version of the phrase, ars gratia artis, is the motto of the film company MGM, and appears around the roaring lion in its famous logo. Art deco, was shortened from French art décoratif ‘decorative art’, from the 1925 Exhibition title Exposition des Arts décoratifs in Paris. Latin iners which gives us inert (mid 17th century) and inertia (early 18th century) meant ‘unskilled, inactive’, and was formed as the opposite of ars.


art for art's sake

Used to convey the idea that the chief or only aim of a work of art is the self-expression of the individual artist who creates it.
Example sentences
  • Ruskin's pre-Raphaelitism, for example, which stressed the moral purpose of art, contrasted Pater's aestheticism, which promoted the idea of art for art's sake.
  • English cultural commentators have recently speculated that this hostility is more widespread, and that there is a deep historical and cultural resistance to the very idea of art for art's sake in Scotland.
  • It's an odd looking movie that embraces the idea of art for art's sake.

art is long, life is short

proverb There is so much knowledge (or skill) to acquire that a lifetime is not sufficient.
Example sentences
  • Goethe said that art is long, life is short.
  • They can be summed up in such Latin expressions as: ars longa, vita brevis (art is long, life is short) ora pro scriptore (pray for the scribe) finis coronat opus (the end crowns the work) errare humanum est (to err is human) scriptori vita (long life to the scribe).

art of war

The strategy, tactics, and techniques of combat.
Example sentences
  • As one component of the art of war, tactics are but part of the whole; the complex, costly, and messy business of war must be seen in the round.
  • The American Army came to favor the science of war over the art of war, resulting in a stiff adherence to principles and rules.
  • They openly deprecated the principles of military science and art of war.

Words that rhyme with art

apart, apparat, baht, Bart, Barthes, cart, carte, chart, clart, dart, Eilat, fart, ghat, Gujarat, Gujrat, hart, Harte, heart, heart-to-heart, impart, Jat, kart, kyat, Maat, Mansart, mart, outsmart, part, quarte, salat, savate, Scart, smart, start, tart, zakat

Definition of art in:

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There are 2 main definitions of art in English:

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art 2 Syllabification: art
Archaic or dialect 2nd person singular present of be.

Definition of art in:

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