noun \ˈslap-ˌstik\

: comedy that involves physical action (such as falling down or hitting people)

Full Definition of SLAPSTICK

:  a device made of two flat pieces of wood fastened at one end so as to make a loud noise when used by an actor to strike a person
:  comedy stressing farce and horseplay; also :  activity resembling slapstick
slapstick adjective
slap·sticky \-ˌsti-kē\ adjective

Examples of SLAPSTICK

  1. <an actor whose roles range from slapstick to serious drama>
  2. <a lowbrow comedy that relies heavily on slapstick for its laughs>

First Known Use of SLAPSTICK


Other Performing Arts Terms

diva, dramaturgy, loge, prestidigitation, proscenium, supernumerary, zany


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Comedy characterized by broad humour, absurd situations, and vigorous, often violent action. It took its name from a paddlelike device, probably introduced by 16th-century commedia dell'arte troupes, that produced a resounding whack when one comic actor used it to strike another. Slapstick comedy became popular in 19th-century music halls and vaudeville theatres and was carried into the 20th century by silent-movie comedians such as Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and Mack Sennett's Keystone Kops and later by Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, and the Three Stooges.


Next Word in the Dictionary: slap–up
Previous Word in the Dictionary: slap shot
All Words Near: slapstick

Seen & Heard

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