See also: æsthetic


Alternative formsEdit


From German Ästhetik or French esthétique, both from Ancient Greek αἰσθητικός (aisthētikós, of sense perception), from αἰσθάνομαι (aisthánomai, I feel).

Cognates include Proto-Germanic *awiz (obvious), Sanskrit आविस् (āvís, manifestly, evidently) and Latin audiō.


  • (Conservative RP) IPA(key): /esˈθet.ɪk/, /iːsˈθet.ɪk/
  • (Contemporary RP) IPA(key): /ɛsˈθɛt.ɪk/
  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɪsˈθet.ɪk/, /iːsˈθet.ɪk/
  • (General American) IPA(key): /ɛsˈθɛt.ɪk/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛtɪk


aesthetic (comparative more aesthetic, superlative most aesthetic)

  1. Concerned with beauty, artistic impact, or appearance.
    • 1941 August, C. Hamilton Ellis, “The English Station”, in Railway Magazine, page 358:
      If Euston is not typically English, St. Pancras is. Its façade is a nightmare of improbable Gothic. It is fairly plastered with the aesthetic ideals of 1868, and the only beautiful thing about it is Barlow's roof. It is haunted by the stuffier kind of ghost. Yet there is something about the ordered whole of St. Pancras that would make demolition a terrible pity.
    • 2022 January 12, Paul Bigland, “Fab Four: the nation's finest stations: Wakefield Kirkgate”, in RAIL, number 948, page 28:
      The station was rebuilt yet again by British Rail in 1967, when large chunks of the 19th century station were demolished and replaced with 'modern' buildings that were less than aesthetic.
    Coordinate term: cosmetic
  2. (nonstandard) Beautiful or appealing to one's sense of beauty and/or art.
    It works well enough, but the shabby exterior offends his aesthetic sensibilities.
    Synonyms: aesthetical, esthetic, tasteful
    Antonyms: inaesthetic, unaesthetic
    • 1881, W. S. Gilbert, Patience, Act I:
      If you're anxious for to shine in the high aesthetic line as a man of culture rare,
      You must get up all the germs of the transcendental terms, and plant them everywhere.



aesthetic (plural aesthetics)

  1. The study of art or beauty.
  2. That which appeals to the senses.
  3. The artistic motifs defining a collection of things, especially works of art; more broadly, their vibe.
    Her most recent works have this quirky, half-serious ’90s teen culture–inspired aesthetic.
    I really like the goth aesthetic you've got going there.


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit

Further readingEdit

  • "aesthetic" in Raymond Williams, Keywords (revised), 1983, Fontana Press, page 31.