Definition of artefact in English:


(US artifact)


  • 1An object made by a human being, typically one of cultural or historical interest.

    ‘gold and silver artefacts’
    • ‘We have no control over our cultural artifacts once we send them out into the world - people do with them what they will, including construct dreams around them.’
    • ‘The museum houses a wealth of interesting historical artifacts, including the original shop restored to its original condition.’
    • ‘The United States Library of Congress preserves the Nation's cultural artifacts and provides enduring access to them.’
    • ‘The president of the Admiral Brown Society, JJ O'Hara, said the cannons and guns were rare historical artifacts.’
    • ‘I can't help but to think about how the great museums of Europe amassed their collections of cultural artefacts.’
    • ‘It's loaded with ceramic artifacts and historical relics.’
    • ‘The National Museum in Nairobi has collections of historical and cultural artifacts and the museum at Fort Jesus in Mombasa is dedicated to archeology and history.’
    • ‘Artworks in a museum tend to become historical documents or artefacts.’
    • ‘The film is most interesting as an historical artifact and an example of a black-cast film that seems to respect the actors, though not financially.’
    • ‘Of course, much more remains to be done, but the ground floor now houses a large historical museum containing many artifacts indicative of past life in Wood's Harbour.’
    • ‘Displayed alongside the photos are some books, posters and other historical artifacts of this period.’
    • ‘If we view all cultural artifacts as historically contingent, by what measure do we decide if one is morally superior to another?’
    • ‘The McCord Museum is home to an extraordinary collection of historical artifacts from Montreal and beyond.’
    • ‘Because this policy sees every object in terms of personal identity, it is blind to imaginative or well-crafted paintings, interesting or rare historical artefacts.’
    • ‘We take for granted that our cultural artifacts will last.’
    • ‘All the historical artefacts rescued from the building will be sold at auction next month.’
    • ‘Therefore, Chonggyechon now contains old deposits and a variety of artifacts that illustrate the cultural history of Seoul over the past 600 years.’
    • ‘This treasury which is located inside a safe locked basement beneath the shrine contains historical artifacts, priceless manuscripts and a significant amount of gold and gems.’
    • ‘The cultural artifacts that decorate the walls don't seem real to me - it's like stepping into the Matrix, an artificially generated world.’
    • ‘Local people wanted a safe place to exhibit and store family pictures and historical artifacts, and now the Centre provides just that.’
    historical object, ancient object, antiquity, antique, heirloom, object of virtu, curio
    View synonyms
  • 2Something observed in a scientific investigation or experiment that is not naturally present but occurs as a result of the preparative or investigative procedure.

    ‘the curvature of the surface is an artefact of the wide-angle view’
    • ‘Therefore, it is unlikely that the results presented are an artifact of presenting the stimuli fish in bottles.’
    • ‘Were these negative findings an artifact of the procedures used in the study, or were they a valid reflection of the relationships that existed in the sample?’
    • ‘There was grain present, and some artifacts and pixelation, but it wasn't overly distracting.’
    • ‘No edge enhancement or artifacts are present at all, and as with most transfers of recent films, this DVD looks great.’
    • ‘Therefore, artifacts associated with the experimental procedure could not be absolutely excluded, as was mentioned by the authors.’
    • ‘We performed two experiments in order to eliminate the possibility that the recombination we observed was an artifact of the PCR reaction.’
    • ‘This movie shows its age through the many artifacts and imperfections present.’
    • ‘This is a flash artifact and is observed also when the flash is ignited in the empty spectrometer.’
    • ‘Any drift starting or stopping within the experiment may create artifacts, although the trials are randomized in a balanced order.’
    • ‘The ‘interglacial’ ice core fluctuations are now seen by most scientists as an artifact of ice flow.’
    • ‘Following the artifact rejecting procedure, the single trial data were averaged separately for each of the six electrode sites and four stimulus conditions.’
    • ‘Upon closer inspection, this claim proves exaggerated, an artifact of exit-poll procedures and inconsistency in question wording.’
    • ‘The phenomenon is easily seen by eye and apparently cannot be ascribed to statistical artefacts, selection procedures or flawed reduction techniques.’
    • ‘However, because cross sections were taken at the very base of the trees and ring series were carefully cross dated, I do not believe the delay to be an artifact of the sampling procedure.’
    • ‘Though present, the DNR artifacts are not significant enough to detract much from the viewing.’
    • ‘Researchers need to question whether the phenomena observed are real or an artefact of the experimental methodology used.’
    • ‘Shadows and dimly lighted sequences possess great detail and clarity, with no signs of edge enhancement or digital compression artifacts present.’
    • ‘Note that the notal cleft seen in these preparations is an artifact of the mounting procedure.’
    • ‘Could the observed bundling be an artifact of specimen preparation for electron microscopy?’


Early 19th century: from Latin arte ‘by or using art’ + factum ‘something made’ (neuter past participle of facere ‘make’).