1. an object made by a human being, typically an item of cultural or historical interest : gold and silver artifacts. • Archaeology such an object as distinguished from a similar object naturally produced.
2. something observed in a scientific investigation or experiment that is not naturally present but occurs as a result of the preparative or investigative procedure : widespread tissue infection may be a technical artifact.
DERIVATIVES artifactual |ˌärtəˈfak ch oōəl| adjective ORIGIN early 19th cent.: from Latin arte ‘by or using art’ + factum ‘something made’ (neuter past participle of facere ‘make’ ).