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Artefact vs. Artifact: Decoding the Right Spelling

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on December 30, 2023
"Artefact" is an incorrect spelling, while "Artifact" is the correct form, referring to an object made or shaped by human hand, typically of cultural or historical interest.
Artefact vs. Artifact

Which is correct: Artefact or Artifact

How to spell Artifact?

Artefact is Incorrect

Artifact is Correct

How to remember correct spelling of Artifact?

Think of "i" in "Artifact" as standing for "item," which an artifact is.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 30, 2023
Remember that "Artifact" has the same start as "Art," which is often made by human hands.
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Dec 30, 2023
Visualize "Artifact" as a combination of "Art" and "Fict(ion)," blending creativity and historical storytelling.
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Dec 30, 2023
Associate "Artifact" with "Fact," as artifacts are factual pieces of history.
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Dec 30, 2023
Recall that "Artifact" and "craft" both end with "ft," linking them to skilled making.
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Dec 30, 2023

Artifact Definitions

A human-made object of historical or cultural significance.
The museum displayed artifacts from ancient Egypt.
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Dec 14, 2023
A tangible piece of cultural or historical importance created by humans.
The gallery exhibited colonial artifacts, including tools and clothing.
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Dec 14, 2023
A product of human art and workmanship, especially one with archaeological interest.
The bronze spearhead is a valuable artifact from the Iron Age.
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Dec 14, 2023
Any item made by humans, often an object of study.
The artifact, a carved stone, was believed to be centuries old.
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Dec 14, 2023
An object produced or shaped by human craft, especially a tool, weapon, or ornament of archaeological or historical interest.
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Oct 19, 2023
Something viewed as a product of human conception or agency rather than an inherent element
"Morality is an artifact of human culture, devised to help us negotiate social relations" (Michael Pollan).
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Oct 19, 2023
A phenomenon or feature not originally present or expected and caused by an interfering external agent, action, or process, as an unwanted feature in a microscopic specimen after fixation, in a digitally reproduced image, or in a digital audio recording.
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An inaccurate observation, effect, or result, especially one resulting from the technology used in scientific investigation or from experimental error
The apparent pattern in the data was an artifact of the collection method.
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Oct 19, 2023
An object made or shaped by human hand or labor.
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Oct 19, 2023
An object made or shaped by some agent or intelligence, not necessarily of direct human origin.
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Oct 19, 2023
Something viewed as a product of human agency or conception rather than an inherent element.
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Oct 19, 2023
A finding or structure in an experiment or investigation that is not a true feature of the object under observation, but is a result of external action, the test arrangement, or an experimental error.
The spot on his lung turned out to be an artifact of the X-ray process.
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Oct 19, 2023
(archaeology) An object, such as a tool, ornament, or weapon of archaeological or historical interest, especially such an object found at an archaeological excavation.
The dig produced many Roman artifacts.
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Oct 19, 2023
(biology) An appearance or structure in protoplasm due to death, the method of preparation of specimens, or the use of reagents, and not present during life.
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Oct 19, 2023
(computing) A perceptible distortion that appears in an audio or video file or a digital image as a result of applying a lossy compression or other inexact processing algorithm.
This JPEG image has been so highly compressed that it has unsightly artifacts, making it unsuitable for the cover of our magazine.
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Oct 19, 2023
(museology) Any object in the collection of a museum. May be used sensu stricto only for human-made objects, or may include ones that are not human-made.
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Oct 19, 2023
A product of human workmanship; - applied esp. to the simpler products of aboriginal art as distinguished from natural objects.
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Oct 19, 2023
Any product of human workmanship; - applied both to objects made for practical purposes as well as works of art. It is contrasted to natural object, i.e. anything produced by natural forces without the intervention of man.
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Oct 19, 2023
A structure or appearance in protoplasm due to death, method of preparation of specimens, or the use of reagents, and not present during life.
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Oct 19, 2023
An object, oservation, phenomenon, or result arising from hidden or unexpected causes extraneous to the subject of a study, and therefore spurious and having potential to lead one to an erroneous conclusion, or to invalidate the study. In experimental science, artifacts may arise due to inadvertant contamination of equipment, faulty experimental design or faulty analysis, or unexpected effects of agencies not known to affect the system under study.
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Oct 19, 2023
A man-made object taken as a whole
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An object remaining from a particular period, showing human workmanship.
Archaeologists found a pottery shard, an artifact of the medieval era.
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Dec 14, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Why is "Artefact" often considered incorrect in American English?

In American English, "Artifact" is the preferred spelling, aligning with the Latin origin, while "Artefact" is more common in British English.
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Dec 30, 2023

How does the meaning of "Artifact" differ in archaeology?

In archaeology, "Artifact" specifically refers to objects made or modified by humans, often used to understand past cultures.
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Dec 30, 2023

Is "Artifact" used in fields other than archaeology?

Yes, "Artifact" is used in various fields, like anthropology, history, and even in technology and medicine for different contexts.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 30, 2023

Is there a difference in pronunciation between "Artefact" and "Artifact"?

No, both spellings are pronounced the same way, despite the difference in spelling.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 30, 2023

Are "Artefact" and "Artifact" interchangeable in academic writing?

Usage depends on the variant of English; in American English, "Artifact" is preferred, while "Artefact" is more acceptable in British English contexts.
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Dec 30, 2023

Can "Artifact" refer to modern objects, or only ancient ones?

While often associated with ancient items, "Artifact" can refer to any period, including contemporary objects made by humans.
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Dec 30, 2023

Are there any mnemonic devices to remember the spelling of "Artifact"?

One mnemonic is to associate "Art" with human creativity and "Fact" with historical truth, both elements of an artifact.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 30, 2023

What is the origin of the word "Artifact"?

"Artifact" originates from Latin, combining "arte" (by skill) and "factum" (something made), emphasizing skilled creation.
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Dec 30, 2023

Does "Artifact" have synonyms that are less confusing in spelling?

Yes, words like "relic," "antiquity," or "object" can be used synonymously, though they might lack the specific connotations of "Artifact."
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 30, 2023

In what contexts might "Artefact" be the more appropriate spelling?

"Artefact" is more appropriate in contexts adhering to British English standards, such as in the UK or Commonwealth countries.
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Dec 30, 2023

In digital technology, what does "Artifact" mean?

In technology, an "Artifact" refers to a product or byproduct generated during software development and testing.
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Dec 30, 2023

What are some common mistakes made when using "Artifact" in writing?

Common mistakes include confusing its spelling with "Artefact," misusing it to describe natural objects, or misidentifying the age or origin of the artifact.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 30, 2023

Can "Artifact" be pluralized, and if so, how?

Yes, the plural of "Artifact" is "Artifacts," simply adding an 's' at the end.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 30, 2023

Is the use of "Artifact" in literature different from its academic use?

In literature, "Artifact" may be used more broadly or metaphorically, compared to its specific, technical use in academic contexts.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 30, 2023

How can I teach students to differentiate between "Artefact" and "Artifact"?

Emphasize the etymology and regional spelling preferences: "Artifact" in American English, "Artefact" in British English.
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Dec 30, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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