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art (n.)

early 13c., "skill as a result of learning or practice," from Old French art (10c.), from Latin artem (nominative ars) "work of art; practical skill; a business, craft," from PIE *ar(ə)-ti- (source also of Sanskrit rtih "manner, mode;" Greek artizein "to prepare"), suffixed form of root *ar- "to fit together." Etymologically akin to Latin arma "weapons."

In Middle English usually with a sense of "skill in scholarship and learning" (c. 1300), especially in the seven sciences, or liberal arts. This sense remains in Bachelor of Arts, etc. Meaning "human workmanship" (as opposed to nature) is from late 14c. Meaning "system of rules and traditions for performing certain actions" is from late 15c. Sense of "skill in cunning and trickery" first attested late 16c. (the sense in artful, artless). Meaning "skill in creative arts" is first recorded 1610s; especially of painting, sculpture, etc., from 1660s.

Supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truths, passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius, but never abandoned. The revolt of individualism came because the tradition had become degraded, or rather because a spurious copy had been accepted in its stead. [William Butler Yeats]

Expression art for art's sake (1824) translates French l'art pour l'art. First record of art critic is from 1847. Arts and crafts "decorative design and handcraft" first attested in the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, founded in London, 1888.

Origin and meaning of art

art (v.)

second person singular present indicative of be; Old English eart. Also see are (v.). It became archaic in the 1800s.

art (adj.)

"produced with conscious artistry" (as opposed to popular or folk), 1890, from art (n.), possibly from influence of German kunstlied "art song." Art film is from 1960; art rock from 1968.

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Definitions of art from WordNet

art (n.)
the products of human creativity; works of art collectively;
a collection of fine art
an art exhibition
Synonyms: fine art
art (n.)
the creation of beautiful or significant things;
I was never any good at art
art does not need to be innovative to be good
he said that architecture is the art of wasting space beautifully
Synonyms: artistic creation / artistic production
art (n.)
a superior skill that you can learn by study and practice and observation;
it's quite an art
the art of conversation
Synonyms: artistry / prowess
art (n.)
photographs or other visual representations in a printed publication;
Synonyms: artwork / graphics / nontextual matter
From wordnet.princeton.edu