Artificial vs Synthetic - What's the difference?

artificial | synthetic |

As adjectives the difference between artificial and synthetic

is that artificial is man-made; of artifice while synthetic is of, or relating to synthesis.

As a noun synthetic is

a synthetic compound.




(en adjective)
  • Man-made; of artifice.
  • * {{quote-magazine, title=A better waterworks, date=2013-06-01, volume=407, issue=8838
  • , page=5 (Technology Quarterly), magazine=(The Economist) citation , passage=An artificial kidney these days still means a refrigerator-sized dialysis machine. Such devices mimic the way real kidneys cleanse blood and eject impurities and surplus water as urine. But they are nothing like as efficient, and can cause bleeding, clotting and infection—not to mention inconvenience for patients, who typically need to be hooked up to one three times a week for hours at a time.}}
  • False, misleading.
  • Unnatural.
  • Derived terms

    * artificial consciousness * artificial intelligence * artificiality * artificially * artificialness * artificial selection * artificial turf

    See also

    * fake ----




    (en adjective)
  • Of, or relating to synthesis.
  • (chemistry) Produced by synthesis instead of being isolated from a natural source (but may be identical to a product so obtained).
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-08-10, volume=408, issue=8848, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= A new prescription , passage=As the world's drug habit shows, governments are failing in their quest to monitor every London window-box and Andean hillside for banned plants. But even that Sisyphean task looks easy next to the fight against synthetic drugs. No sooner has a drug been blacklisted than chemists adjust their recipe and start churning out a subtly different one.}}
  • Artificial, not genuine.
  • (grammar) Pertaining to the joining of bound morphemes in a word. Compare analytic.
  • Derived terms

    * nucleosynthetic * syntheticism


    (en noun)
  • A synthetic compound.
  • * {{quote-news, year=2007, date=January 14, author=Elsa Brenner, title=Art House to Get a Campus, work=New York Times citation
  • , passage=Only plastics and synthetics that cannot be recycled will end up in landfills, he said. }}