Word of the Day

aesthetic

Origin of the word

The word aesthetic comes from the Greek word ‘aisthētikos’. At the time, it was defined as ‘relating to perception by the senses’. This early form of the word was a combination of the Greek words ‘aisthēta’ meaning ‘perceptible things’, and ‘aisthesthai’ meaning ‘perceive’. The definition as we know it today comes from 18th century German. It was not adopted into the English language until the early 19th century.

Examples

Aesthetic refers to the appearance of something, particularly in relation to its beauty. It is a term that predominantly refers to visual elements and can also be used as a noun to describe criteria by which an artistic movement or artist is defined, such as the postmodern aesthetic.



Aesthetics refers to a branch of philosophy regarding the nature of art. A common question often asked by aestheticians throughout the study of the philosophy of aesthetics is: “What is meant when something is said to be beautiful?”

“Since ancient times, the Japanese have had a unique aesthetic referred to as wabi-sabi. This generally means that they prefer the mundane over anything showy, quiet over noise and stillness over any movement. But street photographer Junya Suzuki believes all that is disappearing: ‘As time goes by, and as people become more and more superficial, they have lost touch with their aesthetic sense.’” – Creative Boom, Friday 8th September 2017: Aesthetic of everyday life: Junya Suzuki shows us why the Japanese prefer the mundane.

“Inside, the architects sought to create a gallery-like aesthetic, with white walls accommodating the owners’ art collection.” – De Zeen, Tuesday 12th September 2017: SkB Architects imbues Washington residence with art gallery.

Definition

Relating to beauty or to the study of the principles of beauty, especially in art.

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary is an award-winning, one-stop reference for English learners and speakers around the world.

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