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Meaning of artifact

ar•ti•fact

Pronunciation: (är'tu-fakt"), [key]
— n.
  1. any object made by human beings, esp. with a view to subsequent use.
  2. a handmade object, as a tool, or the remains of one, as a shard of pottery, characteristic of an earlier time or cultural stage, esp. such an object found at an archaeological excavation.
  3. any mass-produced, usually inexpensive object reflecting contemporary society or popular culture: artifacts of the pop rock generation.
  4. a substance or structure not naturally present in the matter being observed but formed by artificial means, as during preparation of a microscope slide.
  5. a spurious observation or result arising from preparatory or investigative procedures.
  6. any feature that is not naturally present but is a product of an extrinsic agent, method, or the like: statistical artifacts that make the inflation rate seem greater than it is.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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