Word of the day

The word for today is…

aesthetic (adj) – 1. Relating to the philosophy or theories of aesthetics.
2. (a) Of or concerning the appreciation of beauty or good taste.
(b) Attractive or appealing.
3. Characterised by a heightened sensitivity to beauty.
4. Being or relating to a work of art; artistic.
5. (Informal) Conforming to accepted notions of good taste.
6. (often Aesthetic) Of or characteristic of aestheticism in the arts.

noun – 1. A guiding principle in matters of artistic beauty and taste; artistic sensibility.
2. An underlying principle, a set of principles, or a view often manifested by outward appearances or style of behaviour.

Source : The Free Dictionary

Etymology : 1798, from German Ästhetisch (mid-18th century) or French esthétique (which is from German), ultimately from Greek aisthetikos “of or for perception by the senses, perceptive,” of things, “perceptible,” from aisthanesthai “to perceive (by the senses or by the mind), to feel,” from PIE *awis-dh-yo-, from root *au- “to perceive.”

Popularised in English by translations of Kant and used originally in the classically correct sense “science which treats of the conditions of sensuous perception” [OED]. Kant had tried to reclaim the word after Alexander Baumgarten had taken it in German to mean “criticism of taste” (1750s), but Baumgarten’s sense attained popularity in English circa 1830s (despite scholarly resistance) and freed the word from philosophy. Walter Pater used it (1868) to describe the late 19th century. movement that advocated “art for art’s sake,” which further blurred the sense. [Whewell had proposed callesthetics for “the science of the perception of the beautiful.”]

As an adjective by 1798 “of or pertaining to sensual perception;” 1821 as “of or pertaining to appreciation of the beautiful.”


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Peter is a fourth-generation New Zealander, with his mother’s and father’s folks having arrived in New Zealand in the 1870s. He lives in Lower Hutt with his wife, three cats and assorted computers.

His work history has been in the timber, banking and real estate industries, and he’s now enjoying retirement. He has been interested in computers for over thirty years and is a strong advocate for free open source software. He is chairman of the SeniorNet Hutt City committee.

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