Is there a single word that means "a society/group/system that does not value aesthetics"?

I can't think of anything. Any suggestions?

  • Do you mean 'politicians'? Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 6:50
  • Crass is an approximate suggestion; it may serve depending on context.
    – Kris
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 7:05
  • You might consider Spartan, who has a reputation for practically l, dedication to martial preparation, and stark minimalism.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 10:25

1 Answer 1


The obvious answer is philistine:


A person who is hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts, or who has no understanding of them:

I am a complete philistine when it comes to paintings

I'm a bit of philistine when it comes to art; I don't have much time for it and art galleries make me feel sleepy.

Of course, I guess it's possible that these books are all pretty well known to literate Americans and I'm just a philistine.

Ignore the doom-mongers and philistines - it is both possible and desirable to rescue Venice from sinking into the sea.


Hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts:

a philistine government

there were displays to inspire even the most philistine of visitors

Beneath this undercurrent of grumbling is the philistine assumption that it is elitist or irrelevant to consider art which does not excite the mass market.

And as yet another example of perhaps the only serious British contribution to 20th century architecture faces demolition, is there any other art form about which we could be so utterly, wilfully philistine?

The policy is philistine, expensive and environmentally disastrous.

(Definitions and examples from oxforddictionaries.com)

Other possible words are anti-intellectual and lowbrow.

  • + 1 yes..that is the word!!
    – user66974
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 7:40
  • I am not sure if anti-intellectual or lowbrow would be right, I was probably going for a society that places excessive importance on "function/rigor over style/beauty" and the example in my mind was a society of mathematicians or physicists. Thanks for the answer though.
    – Pushpendre
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 9:18
  • @Pushpendre - If that's your focus, then utilitarian could be the best match. Macmillandictionary.com, for instance, defines utilitarian as "designed to be useful rather than attractive".
    – Erik Kowal
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 9:25
  • Or perhaps functionalist? From "the theory that the design of an object should be determined by its function rather than by aesthetic considerations", although there are other definitions that might muddy the waters a bit.
    – walkytalky
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 10:53

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