The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Art \Art\ ([aum]rt), n. [F. art, L. ars, artis, orig., skill in
joining or fitting; prob. akin to E. arm, aristocrat,
1. The employment of means to accomplish some desired end;
the adaptation of things in the natural world to the uses
of life; the application of knowledge or power to
Blest with each grace of nature and of art. --Pope.
2. A system of rules serving to facilitate the performance of
certain actions; a system of principles and rules for
attaining a desired end; method of doing well some special
work; -- often contradistinguished from science or
speculative principles; as, the art of building or
engraving; the art of war; the art of navigation.
Science is systematized knowledge . . . Art is
knowledge made efficient by skill. --J. F.
3. The systematic application of knowledge or skill in
effecting a desired result. Also, an occupation or
business requiring such knowledge or skill.
The fishermen can't employ their art with so much
success in so troubled a sea. --Addison.
4. The application of skill to the production of the
beautiful by imitation or design, or an occupation in
which skill is so employed, as in painting and sculpture;
one of the fine arts; as, he prefers art to literature.
5. pl. Those branches of learning which are taught in the
academical course of colleges; as, master of arts.
In fearless youth we tempt the heights of arts.
Four years spent in the arts (as they are called in
colleges) is, perhaps, laying too laborious a
6. Learning; study; applied knowledge, science, or letters.
So vast is art, so narrow human wit. --Pope.
7. Skill, dexterity, or the power of performing certain
actions, acquired by experience, study, or observation;
knack; as, a man has the art of managing his business to
8. Skillful plan; device.
They employed every art to soothe . . . the
discontented warriors. --Macaulay.
9. Cunning; artifice; craft.
Madam, I swear I use no art at all. --Shak.
Animals practice art when opposed to their superiors
in strength. --Crabb.
10. The black art; magic. [Obs.] --Shak.
Art and part (Scots Law), share or concern by aiding and
abetting a criminal in the perpetration of a crime,
whether by advice or by assistance in the execution;
Note: The arts are divided into various classes.
The useful arts,
The mechanical arts, or
The industrial arts are those in which the hands and body
are more concerned than the mind; as in making clothes and
utensils. These are called trades.
The fine arts are those which have primarily to do with
imagination and taste, and are applied to the production
of what is beautiful. They include poetry, music,
painting, engraving, sculpture, and architecture; but the
term is often confined to painting, sculpture, and
The liberal arts (artes liberales, the higher arts, which,
among the Romans, only freemen were permitted to pursue)
were, in the Middle Ages, these seven branches of
learning, -- grammar, logic, rhetoric, arithmetic,
geometry, music, and astronomy. In modern times the
liberal arts include the sciences, philosophy, history,
etc., which compose the course of academical or collegiate
education. Hence, degrees in the arts; master and bachelor
In America, literature and the elegant arts must
grow up side by side with the coarser plants of
daily necessity. --Irving.
Syn: Science; literature; aptitude; readiness; skill;
dexterity; adroitness; contrivance; profession;
business; trade; calling; cunning; artifice; duplicity.