a. Made by humans, especially in imitation of something natural: an artificial sweetener that replaces sugar; artificial flowers.
b. Not arising from natural or necessary causes; contrived or arbitrary: "Hausa [in Niger] ... are separated from their brethren in Nigeria by a porous and artificial border that the colonial powers left behind" (Jeffrey Tayler).
2. Affected or insincere: an artificial smile.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin artificiālis, belonging to art, from artificium, craftsmanship; see ARTIFICE.]
ar′ti·fi′ci·ali·ty (-fĭsh′ē-ălĭ-tē) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.