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State of the art

Posted by Smokey Stover on May 21, 2005

In Reply to: State of the art posted by Mike on May 02, 2005

: Where did the phrase "state of the art" come from? I know it means new or high tech. but what is the origin of the phrase?

I'm not sure what Mike means by asking for the "origin" of the phrase. The phrase means what the words denote, and has been used because it is often useful. The OED characterizes it thus: "state of the art: the current stage of development of a practical or technological subject; freq. (esp. in attrib. use) implying the use of the latest techniques in a product or activity." The word "state" in the phrase is synonymous with "status." Citations of the phrase by OED start in 1910: "1910 H. H. SUPLEE Gas Turbine 6 It has therefore been thought desirable to gather under one cover the most important papers... In the present state of the art this is all that can be done. 1955 Jrnl. R. Aeronaut. Soc. LIX. 471/1 Flight instruments and flight techniques of human pilots had to be brought up to a state where automatic flying could be fitted into a consistent state-of-the-art picture." And more. SS