AskDefine | Define artisan

Dictionary Definition

artisan n : a skilled worker who practices some trade or handicraft [syn: craftsman, journeyman, artificer]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • (US)
    • /ˈɑrtɪzən/
    • /"ArtIz@n/


  1. A skilled manual worker who uses tools and machinery in a particular craft.

Derived terms


skilled manual worker

Extensive Definition

An artisan, also called a craftsman, is a skilled manual worker who crafts items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, clothing, jewelry, household items, and tools. The use of hands and hand tools impart an individuality to each item lacking in manufactured goods. Artisans traditionally work in media such as wood, ceramics, glass, common and precious metals, basketry, textiles, and leather, but as an adjective the term is also used to describe handcrafted foods and beverages.

Artisan origins

Artisans were the dominant producers of goods before the Industrial Revolution. According to Classical economics theory, the division of labor occurs with internal market development (Adam Smith). However, according to economist John Hicks, merchants and artisans originated as servants to the rulers, which occurred much earlier. Artisans employ creative thinking and manual dexterity to produce their goods.

Artisan jewelry

Artisan jewelry dates back as far as 7000 BCE, when gold and copper began to be sculpted to adorn the human form, and the practice continues today. Although rarely price-competitive with machine-made items, artisan handmade jewelry is prized for its uniqueness, variety, and often unsurpassed beauty. Reflecting the talents of the artisan onto the wearer, the broad spectrum of artisan jewelry is available to provide satisfaction to royalty, rock stars, and "everyday folk." Thousands of jewelry artisans exist around the globe. Some fine examples of artisan jewelry can be seen at The Metropolitan Museum, and Sif Sigli

Quilt artisans

Quilt-maker artisans are called quilters. These artisans are mostly women who make quilts especially in their houses. Quilt making is traditional folk art worldwide, including south Asia where their traditional quilts are called Ralli quilts.


artisan in Catalan: Artesà
artisan in Danish: Håndværker
artisan in German: Kunsthandwerk
artisan in Estonian: Käsitööline
artisan in Spanish: Artesano
artisan in French: Artisanat
artisan in Italian: Artigiano
artisan in Hebrew: אומן
artisan in Japanese: 職人
artisan in Norwegian: Handverker
artisan in Norwegian Nynorsk: Handverkar
artisan in Polish: Rzemieślnik
artisan in Swedish: Hantverkare

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Admirable Crichton, adept, aeromechanic, apprentice, artificer, artist, artiste, attache, authority, connaisseur, connoisseur, consultant, copyist, cordon bleu, crack shot, craftsman, craftswoman, creator, dauber, daubster, dead shot, diplomat, diplomatist, elder statesman, experienced hand, expert, expert consultant, graduate, handicraftsman, handy man, journeyman, machinist, maker, marksman, master, master carpenter, master craftsman, mechanic, mechanician, no slouch, old master, politician, prentice, pro, professional, professor, proficient, savant, shark, sharp, statesman, technical adviser, technician, wright
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