Pronunciation: (är'tu-fakt"), [key]
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. Also,artefact.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

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