Word: aesthetic

Pronunciation: es-THE-tik

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Here’s a fairly common word that most avid readers have come across before, but that’s still worth mentioning in this vocabulary segment. Something about the word “aesthetic” intrigues me. I’m not entirely sure what it is; maybe it’s the sound of it, maybe it’s the Greek spelling. But most likely, it’s the definition. After all, I do appreciate words that have to do with beauty.

“Aesthetic” refers to beauty or the appreciation of it. The word is derived from the Greek adjective aisthētikós, meaning “relating to perception by the senses”. This adjective stems from the noun aísthēsis “perception”, which comes from the verb aisthánomai “to perceive”. The current definition arose in German in the mid 18th century and was adopted into English in the early 19th century.

Unsurprisingly, “aesthetic” is usually attached to nouns related to visual perception, such as in “aesthetic appeal”. A slightly alternative definition for the word would be “giving or designed to give pleasure through beauty”, and it can be used as a noun to mean “a set of principles underlying the work of a particular artist or artistic movement”. As the plural noun “aesthetics”, it refers to “a set of principles concerned with the nature and appreciation of beauty”, though it can also refer to a branch of philosophy that deals with said principles. As you can see, there are many ways to use the word “aesthetic”, but when applied well, they can all help bring to light the beauty in the details of your stories!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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