Definition of "artifact" [ar•ti•fact]

  • An object produced or shaped by human craft, especially a tool, weapon, or ornament of archaeological or historical interest. (noun)
  • Something viewed as a product of human conception or agency rather than an inherent element: "The very act of looking at a naked model was an artifact of male supremacy” ( Philip Weiss). (noun)
  • A structure or feature not normally present but visible as a result of an external agent or action, such as one seen in a microscopic specimen after fixation, or in an image produced by radiology or electrocardiography. (noun)
  • An inaccurate observation, effect, or result, especially one resulting from the technology used in scientific investigation or from experimental error: The apparent pattern in the data was an artifact of the collection method. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "artifact" in a sentence
  • "This fifth game has Layton and Luke investigating the mystery of the title artifact in Casino City, which seems to have been created by the wish-granting mask."
  • "You conclude (somehow) that this artifact is a "design", by which you mean it displays "purpose"."
  • "Do you understand that the doctrine holding that intelligent agency must be identified in advance of a linkage of it to an "artifact" is an ruling and not a logical necessity?"