General English


  • noun creative work such as painting, drawing, music or sculpture


  • (written as Art)
    A comedy about art and friendship by the French writer Yasmina Reza (1960 - ), first performed in Paris in 1994 and subsequently staged around the world in some 35 languages. The English-language version, by Christopher Hampton, opened at Wyndham's Theatre, London, in October 1996 and ran for over six years.

    The play concerns the relationship between three old friends: Serge, Marc, and Yvan. When Serge buys an expensive work by a revered avant-garde artist, he is keen to show it off to his friends - despite the fact that (give ortake a few diagonal markings) it is essentially an all-white canvas. Marc isappalled by what he sees as his friend's lack of judgment and cannot hide thefact; the resulting argument causes the two men to reassess the whole basis oftheir relationship. A third friend, Yvan, is ambivalent about the painting andtries to hold the group together.

    Although some critics hailed Reza's play as a scintillating comedy of ideas, others felt that it had little new to say about either modern art or male friendship and was mainly successful as a vehicle for the interplay of the three actors. In London, the three men were originally played by Tom Courtenay, Ken Stott, and Albert Finney; other veteran talents to become involved during the play's long run included Tom Conti, Nigel Havers, Richard Griffiths, and Barry Foster (who died during the engagement). For its final months, the parts were taken by the League of Gentlemen comedy team.


  • noun an activity in which people create beautiful or interesting objects or experiences, e.g. painting, drawing, sculpture, music, literature or dance


  • acronym forassisted reproductive technology
    (written as ART)


  • acronym forautomated reasoning tool
    (written as ART)
  • An application, within artificial intelligence, which utilizes various techniques, including the processing of non-numerical data for problem solving. Its abbreviation is ART.

Origin & History of “art”

like arm, arthritis, and article, art goes back to an Indo-European root *ar-, which meant ‘put things together, join’. Putting things together implies some skill: hence Latin ars ‘skill’. Its stem art- produced Old French art, the source of the English word. It brought with it the notion of ‘skill’, which it still retains; the modern association with painting, sculpture, etc did not begin until the mid 17th century. Latin derivatives of ars include the verb artīre ‘instruct in various skills’, from which ultimately English gets artisan (16th c.); and artificium, a compound formed with a variant of facere ‘do, make’, from which we get artificial (14th c.).