1830, literally "pertaining to Artois," originally in artesian well, from French puits artésien "wells of Artois," the French province where such wells were first bored 18c. by French engineer Bernard Forest de Bélidor (1698-1761). The place name is from Old French Arteis, from Atrebates, a tribe that lived in northwestern Gallia (compare Arras). In a true artesian well the water rises naturally to the surface, but this depends on peculiarities of local geology; in the U.S. the term was used of any deep-bored well, even if the water must be pumped to the surface.
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