noun \ˈklan\

: someone who performs in a circus, who wears funny clothes and makeup, and who tries to make people laugh

: someone who often does funny things to make people laugh

: a rude or stupid person

Full Definition of CLOWN

:  a rude ill-bred person :  boor
a :  a fool, jester, or comedian in an entertainment (as a play); specifically :  a grotesquely dressed comedy performer in a circus
b :  a person who habitually jokes and plays the buffoon
c :  joker 1b

Examples of CLOWN

  1. Those big shoes make you look like a clown!
  2. Who's the clown standing in the middle of the road?
  3. those clowns at the state capital

Origin of CLOWN

probably of Low German origin; akin to Frisian klönne clumsy fellow, Old English clyne lump of metal
First Known Use: 1563

Rhymes with CLOWN



: to act like a clown : to say funny things or act in a silly way

Full Definition of CLOWN

intransitive verb
:  to act as or like a clown <always clowning around>

First Known Use of CLOWN



noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Comic character of mime and pantomime and the circus. The clown developed from the bald-headed, padded buffoons who performed in the farces and mimes of ancient Greece and from the professional comic actors of the Middle Ages. The Italian commedia dell'arte introduced the harlequin, and the clown's whiteface makeup was introduced with the 17th-century French character Pierrot. The distinctive clown costume of oversized shoes, hat, and giant ruff around the neck was established by the popular German clown character Pickelherring. The first circus clown, Joseph Grimaldi, appeared as “Joey” in England (1805) and specialized in pantomime, pratfalls, and slapstick. Famous 20th-century clowns included the Swiss pantomimist Grock (Adrian Wettach), the U.S. circus star Emmett Kelly, and the longtime star of the Moscow circus, Oleg Popov.


Next Word in the Dictionary: clownage
Previous Word in the Dictionary: clowder
All Words Near: clown

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up clown? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).