Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

grotesque

play
noun gro·tesque \grō-ˈtesk\

Definition of grotesque

  1. 1 a :  a style of decorative art characterized by fanciful or fantastic human and animal forms often interwoven with foliage or similar figures that may distort the natural into absurdity, ugliness, or caricature b :  a piece of work in this style

  2. 2 :  one that is grotesque

  3. 3 :  sans serif



Examples of grotesque

  1. <a gallery of grotesques from some sicko horror movie>



Origin of grotesque

Middle French & Old Italian; Middle French, from Old Italian (pittura) grottesca, literally, cave painting, feminine of grottesco of a cave, from grotta


First Known Use: 1561

Rhymes with grotesque


2

grotesque

adjective gro·tesque

Simple Definition of grotesque

  • : very strange or ugly in a way that is not normal or natural

  • : extremely different from what is expected or usual

Full Definition of grotesque

  1. :  of, relating to, or having the characteristics of the grotesque: as a :  fanciful, bizarre b :  absurdly incongruous c :  departing markedly from the natural, the expected, or the typical

gro·tesque·ly adverb
gro·tesque·ness noun

Examples of grotesque

  1. The actors wore dark capes and grotesque masks.

  2. a grotesque distortion of the facts



1603

First Known Use of grotesque

1603

Synonym Discussion of grotesque

fantastic, bizarre, grotesque mean conceived, made, or carried out without adherence to truth or reality. fantastic may connote extravagance in conception or ingenuity of decorative invention <dreamed up fantastic rumors>. bizarre applies to the sensationally strange and implies violence of contrast or incongruity of combination <a bizarre medieval castle in the heart of a modern city>. grotesque may apply to what is conventionally ugly but artistically effective or it may connote ludicrous awkwardness or incongruity often with sinister or tragic overtones <grotesque statues on the cathedral> <though grieving, she made a grotesque attempt at a smile>.


Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

February 12, 2016

of, relating to, or suggestive of marble

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image33683556

How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

2.2 pounds 100 pounds 196.5 pounds 16.96 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ