aesthetics

Aesthetics is the study of beauty. That might sound funny, but any interior designer or art gallery patron has a thing or two to say about aesthetics.

The philosopher, Alexander Baumgarten, gave us our current meaning of aesthetics. In the mid-1700s, he used the word to describe artistic beauty with the added bonus of a value judgment of good or bad taste. The public embraced Baumgarten's usage, and fashion mavens and art critics got a new word to describe the marriage of beauty and taste.

Definitions of aesthetics
1

n (art) the branch of philosophy dealing with beauty and taste (emphasizing the evaluative criteria that are applied to art)

“traditional aesthetics assumed the existence of universal and timeless criteria of artistic value”
Synonyms:
esthetics
Type of:
philosophy
the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.