Elegance is a synonym for beauty that has come to acquire the additional connotations of unusual effectiveness and simplicity. It is frequently used as a standard of tastefulness particularly in the areas of visual design, decoration, the sciences, and the esthetics of mathematics. Elegant things exhibit refined grace and dignified propriety.
If it is difficult to define elegance elegantly, it is impossible to define it cogently[says who?] because the concept is vaguely and arbitrarily understood. Different applications of the term are not fully isomorphic in the sense described by Douglas Hofstadter as follows: “The word ‘isomorphism’ applies when two complex structures can be mapped onto each other, in such a way that to each part of one structure there is a corresponding part in the other structure, where ‘corresponding’ means that the two parts play similar roles in their respective structures.” The lack of such an isomorphism means that various definitions are in some degree mutually inconsistent.
Nonetheless, essential components of the concept include simplicity and consistency of design, focusing on the essential features of an object. In art of any kind one might also require dignified grace, or restrained beauty of style.
Visual stimuli are frequently considered elegant if a small number of colors and stimuli are used, emphasizing the remainder.
The proof of a mathematical theorem exhibits mathematical elegance if it is surprisingly simple yet effective and constructive; similarly, a computer program or algorithm is elegant if it uses a small amount of code to great effect.
In engineering, a solution may be considered elegant if it uses a non-obvious method to produce a solution which is highly effective and simple. An elegant solution may solve multiple problems at once, especially problems not thought to be inter-related.
In chemistry, chemists might look for elegance in theory and method, in technique and procedure. For example elegance might comprise creative parsimony and versatility in utilisation of resources, in manipulation of materials, and effectiveness in syntheses and analysis.
- ^ Hofstadter, Douglas R. (1999). Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-02656-7. OCLC 40724766.
- ^ Perrin, Chad (16 August 2006). "ITLOG Import: Elegance". Chad Perrin: SOB. http://sob.apotheon.org/?p=113.
- ^ Spolsky, Joel (15 December 2006). "Elegance". Joel on Software. http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2006/12/15.html.
- ^ Zeldes, Nathan (2007). "Ingenious simplicity". Nathan's Possibly Interesting Web Site. http://www.nzeldes.com/Miscellany/Elegance.htm. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
- Schiro, Anne-Marie (30 August 1988). "For Galanos, Elegance Is Eternal". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1988/08/30/style/fashion-for-galanos-elegance-is-eternal.html.
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élégance — [ elegɑ̃s ] n. f. • fin XIVe; lat. elegantia 1 ♦ Qualité esthétique qu on reconnaît à certaines formes naturelles ou créées par l homme dont la perfection est faite de grâce et de simplicité. Élégance des formes, des proportions. L élégance d un… … Encyclopédie Universelle
Elégance — Paris Rechtsform GmbH Gründung 1938 Sitz … Deutsch Wikipedia
élégance — ÉLÉGANCE. s. f. Choix de mots et de tours, d où résultent la grâce et la facilité du langàge. Parler avec élégance. Sans élégance. Élégance sans affectation. L élégance du style. f♛/b] On appelle aussi Élégance, Un certain goût fin et délicat qui … Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798
Elegance — El e*gance, Elegancy El e*gan*cy, n. [L. elegantia, fr. elegans, antis, elegant: cf. F. [ e]l[ e]gance.] 1. The state or quality of being elegant; beauty as resulting from choice qualities and the complete absence of what deforms or impresses… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
elegance — elegance, grace, dignity are comparable only when they denote an impressive beauty of form, appearance, or behavior. Elegance is used in reference to persons chiefly when their grooming, their clothes, and the way they wear them are specifically… … New Dictionary of Synonyms
elegance — Elegance. s. f. Ornement, politesse de langage. Parler avec elegance, sans elegance. elegance sans affectation … Dictionnaire de l'Académie française
elegance — n. pl. elegancies [el′ə gəns] n. [Fr élégance < L elegantia] 1. the quality of being elegant; specif., a) dignified richness and grace, as of design b) polished fastidiousness or refined grace, as in manners c) clever aptness and simplicity … English World dictionary
elegance — c.1500, вЂњtastefulness, correctness, harmoniousness, refinement,вЂќ of speech or prose, from M.Fr. élégance, from L. elegantia taste, propriety, refinement, from elegantem (see ELEGANT (Cf. elegant)). Earlier form was elegancy (early 15c.).… … Etymology dictionary
elegance — Elegance, Elegantia. Parler sans elegance, Horride dicere, siue inculte … Thresor de la langue françoyse
elegance — index propriety (correctness) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 … Law dictionary
elegance — [n] cultivated beauty, taste breeding, charm, class, courtliness, cultivation, culture, delicacy, dignity, discernment, distinction, exquisiteness, felicity, gentility, good taste, grace, gracefulness, grandeur, hauteur, lushness, luxury,… … New thesaurus