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also ar·te·fact  (är′tə-făkt′)
1. An object produced or shaped by human craft, especially a tool, weapon, or ornament of archaeological or historical interest.
2. Something viewed as a product of human conception or agency rather than an inherent element: "Morality is an artifact of human culture, devised to help us negotiate social relations" (Michael Pollan).
3. A phenomenon or feature not originally present or expected and caused by an interfering external agent, action, or process, as an unwanted feature in a microscopic specimen after fixation, in a digitally reproduced image, or in a digital audio recording.
4. 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.

[Latin arte, ablative of ars, art; see art1 + factum, something made (from neuter past participle of facere, to make; see dhē- in Indo-European roots).]

ar′ti·fac′tu·al (-făk′cho͝o-əl) adj.


a variant spelling of artefact


or ar•te•fact

(ˈɑr təˌfækt)

1. any object made by human beings, esp. with a view to subsequent use.
2. a handmade object, as a tool, or the remains of one, as a shard of pottery, belonging to an earlier time or cultural stage, esp. such an object found at an archaeological excavation.
3. a substance or structure not naturally present in the matter being observed but formed by artificial means, as during preparation of a microscope slide.
4. a spurious observation or result arising from preparatory procedures.
5. any feature that is not naturally present but is a product of an extrinsic agent.
[1815–25; variant of artefact < Latin phrase arte factum (something) made with skill. See art1, fact]
ar`ti•fac•ti′tious (-fækˈtɪʃ əs) adj.
ar`ti•fac′tu•al (-ˈfæk tʃu əl) adj.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.artifact - a man-made object taken as a wholeartifact - a man-made object taken as a whole  
whole, unit - an assemblage of parts that is regarded as a single entity; "how big is that part compared to the whole?"; "the team is a unit"
article - one of a class of artifacts; "an article of clothing"
facility - something designed and created to serve a particular function and to afford a particular convenience or service; "catering facilities"; "toilet facilities"; "educational facilities"
Americana - any artifact (such as books or furniture or art) that is distinctive of America
anachronism - an artifact that belongs to another time
antiquity - an artifact surviving from the past
block - a solid piece of something (usually having flat rectangular sides); "the pyramids were built with large stone blocks"
button - any artifact that resembles a button
commodity, trade good, good - articles of commerce
cone - any cone-shaped artifact
covering - an artifact that covers something else (usually to protect or shelter or conceal it)
creation - an artifact that has been brought into existence by someone
decker - (often used in combinations) something constructed with multiple levels; "they rode in a double-decker bus"
decoration, ornament, ornamentation - something used to beautify
electroplate - any artifact that has been plated with a thin coat of metal by electrolysis
excavation - a hole in the ground made by excavating
duplicate, extra - something additional of the same kind; "he always carried extras in case of an emergency"
cloth, fabric, textile, material - artifact made by weaving or felting or knitting or crocheting natural or synthetic fibers; "the fabric in the curtains was light and semitransparent"; "woven cloth originated in Mesopotamia around 5000 BC"; "she measured off enough material for a dress"
facility, installation - a building or place that provides a particular service or is used for a particular industry; "the assembly plant is an enormous facility"
fixture - an object firmly fixed in place (especially in a household)
float - something that floats on the surface of water
insert, inset - an artifact that is inserted or is to be inserted
instrumentation, instrumentality - an artifact (or system of artifacts) that is instrumental in accomplishing some end
layer, bed - single thickness of usually some homogeneous substance; "slices of hard-boiled egg on a bed of spinach"
stinker, lemon - an artifact (especially an automobile) that is defective or unsatisfactory
line - something (as a cord or rope) that is long and thin and flexible; "a washing line"
marker - some conspicuous object used to distinguish or mark something; "the buoys were markers for the channel"
mystification - something designed to mystify or bewilder
opening - a vacant or unobstructed space that is man-made; "they left a small opening for the cat at the bottom of the door"
cushioning, padding - artifact consisting of soft or resilient material used to fill or give shape or protect or add comfort
plaything, toy - an artifact designed to be played with
ready-made - a manufactured artifact (as a garment or piece of furniture) that is made in advance and available for purchase; "their apartment was furnished with ready-mades"
restoration - some artifact that has been restored or reconstructed; "the restoration looked exactly like the original"
flat solid, sheet - a flat artifact that is thin relative to its length and width
sphere - any spherically shaped artifact
square - any artifact having a shape similar to a plane geometric figure with four equal sides and four right angles; "a checkerboard has 64 squares"
squeaker - any artifact that makes a squeaking sound when used; "those sneakers are squeakers"; "which hinge is the squeaker?"
strip, slip - artifact consisting of a narrow flat piece of material
structure, construction - a thing constructed; a complex entity constructed of many parts; "the structure consisted of a series of arches"; "she wore her hair in an amazing construction of whirls and ribbons"
surface - the outer boundary of an artifact or a material layer constituting or resembling such a boundary; "there is a special cleaner for these surfaces"; "the cloth had a pattern of red dots on a white surface"
thing - an artifact; "how does this thing work?"
track - a pair of parallel rails providing a runway for wheels
way - any artifact consisting of a road or path affording passage from one place to another; "he said he was looking for the way out"
weight - an artifact that is heavy
building material - material used for constructing buildings
paving, paving material, pavement - material used to pave an area
natural object - an object occurring naturally; not made by man


[ˈɑːrtɪfækt] n (US)objet m fabriqué