Artesian vs artisan

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Artesian and artisan are two words that are similar in pronunciation and spelling, and are often confused. We will examine the definitions of the words artesian and artisan, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Artesian describes a well or aquifer in which the water rises due to natural pressure, eliminating the need to pump the water. This may happen because the well is drilled in a perpendicular fashion, or because of the natural pressure of the aquifer. A situation in which water reaches ground level under its own pressure and without human engineering is called a flowing artesian well or natural artesian well. The term artesian well is derived from the province of Artois, France, where Carthusian monks were the first to drill artesian wells in the early 1100s.

An artisan is a skilled worker who makes things by hand. An artisan may be engaged in making food, art, decorative items, tools or mechanicals. The adjective form is artisanal. The line between small manufacturing and artisanal processing can become blurred, with companies using artisan as a buzzword to mean an item of high quality. Most properly, an artisan can not produce items in mass quantities and an artisan product must be produced by hand. The word artisan is derived from the Latin word artitus, meaning skilled, and has been in the English language since the 1530s.


He acknowledges it won’t satisfy everyone, but Lloyd Ferguson says he believes he’s found a way around a new arsenic regulation threatening to close a popular artesian well on Sulphur Springs Road by the end of the year. (The Hamilton News)

First Presbyterian Church of Charleston is, once again, preparing to tell the stories of artisans around the world, through its fair-trade shop, Hope Village. (The West Virginia Gazette Mail)