an·tic | \ˈan-tik \

Definition of antic 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an attention-drawing, often wildly playful or funny act or action : caper usually plural childish antics

2 archaic : a performer of a grotesque or ludicrous part : buffoon



Definition of antic (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : characterized by clownish extravagance or absurdity an antic farce

b : whimsically lighthearted : frolicsome Gelbart's intelligence is antic and playful.— Lloyd Rose

2 archaic : grotesque, bizarre

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from antic


antically \-ti-k(ə-)lē \ adverb

Did You Know?


When Renaissance Italians began exploring the ancient Roman ruins around them, they discovered fantastic mural paintings that they called grottesca (which means "grotesques," a name given to the paintings because they were found in caves, or grotte). Because they were so old, the murals were also called antichi, or "ancient things." English speakers adopted antichi, modifying it to antike or anticke, and eventually any behavior or dress reminiscent of the kind depicted in the Roman murals became known as an antic. Within 20 years of its earliest recorded uses as a noun, antic began appearing as an English adjective. Originally, it meant "grotesque" or "bizarre" (a sense now considered archaic), but today it means "playful, funny, or absurd" and the noun means "an often wildly playful or funny act."

Examples of antic in a Sentence


we'll have no more of your antics, so just settle down

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The former Sevilla defender appeared to purposely stand on Neymar's ankle, but the 26-year-old's reaction to the incident prompted Mexico boss Osorio to dedicate a large portion of his post-match comments to the PSG star's antics., "Mexico Boss Lambasts Neymar for 'Clowning Around' as PSG Star's Antics Steal the Show," 3 July 2018 Much remains unclear about the impetus the Chiefs had to move the mercurial Peters, their most prolific defensive playmaker (19 interceptions in three seasons) but prone to polarizing antics. Vahe Gregorian, kansascity, "Kendall Fuller isn't Marcus Peters, and for the Chiefs, that's kind of the point," 14 June 2018 As Dartmouth political scientist Brendan Nyhan notes, equally crucial is the reaction of the Republican Party to Trump’s antics. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Trump is Trump but the GOP is the real threat to American global leadership.," 10 June 2018 Still, Criss doesn't seem too broken up about the obstructed view, suddenly belting out the song's chorus at the end of the clip -- perhaps to slyly play it cool as Swift finally catches on to his antics. Abby Jones, Billboard, "Taylor Swift Accidentally Blocks Darren Criss' View During Shawn Mendes' BBMAs Performance: Watch," 21 May 2018 Garrett struck out the slumping Baez and yelled while staring directly at Baez, who took exception to Garrett’s antics. Mark Gonzales,, "Cubs fall to Reds 5-4 in extra innings; Javier Baez involved in bench-clearing spat," 19 May 2018 The New Palestine baseball coach can set his watch to his players’ oddball pregame antics. Rich Torres, Indianapolis Star, "Move to Class 4A hasn't fazed title-hungry New Palestine baseball," 8 May 2018 There was a satirical musical about him, and an episode of CNBC’s ‘‘American Greed’’ was dedicated to his antics. Washington Post,, "Martin Shkreli’s long, strange tale could end with a decade in prison," 9 Mar. 2018 May responds to Tague's increasingly gonzo antics as though his life really depended on it. Andrea Simakis,, "'Misery' at Great Lakes Theater: Despite top-notch cast and a spooky set, it's under rather than over-the-top (review)," 22 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The Chelsea midfielder targeted Gerard Pique as the main culprit, and also went on to tell of another antic which had the Barcelona defender's name written all over it., "6 of the Biggest Pranksters in Football," 17 June 2018 Real life does not always lend itself to dramatic adaptation, but Davies and Frears manage to make of it something both thoughtful and antic, historical but only in the brief asides a history lesson. Robert Lloyd,, "Hugh Grant has a killer role in Amazon's 'A Very English Scandal'," 28 June 2018 Its signature moment occurs not during the re-enactment of the inept crime, or its planning and antic aftermath. Michael O’sullivan, kansascity, "‘American Animals’: True crime that’s entertaining and profound," 21 June 2018 Queen Elizabeth II's eldest great-grandchild, Savannah Phillips, just confirmed her status as the most savage member of the royal family after pulling off another antic with her four-year-old cousin Prince George over the weekend. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince George Was Pushed Down a Hill By His Cousin Savannah Phillips, the Most Savage Royal," 13 June 2018 Bullwinkel’s style shifts from story to story, occasionally antic but more often than not hilariously deadpan. Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle, "Science fiction and fantasy books: ‘Belly Up,’ ‘What Should Be Wild,’ ‘84K’," 7 June 2018 The performance is introduced and regularly interrupted, in Italian, by Francesca Sara Toich as an antic deep-voiced commedia-style clown. Christopher Arnott,, "A Mesmerizing 'Merchant Of Venice' As Arts & Ideas Hits Its Stride," 21 June 2018 While these pieces are targeting the influential social media audience, the move toward more colorful and graphically antic clothing might confound men who spend more time staring at spreadsheets than at their Instagram feeds. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Instagram Is Changing the Way Men Dress...for the Worse?," 30 May 2018 The antic, full-bore Williams persona seems to have emerged shortly after his family’s move to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1968, when Williams was a senior in high school. David Kamp, New York Times, "A Comic Force of Nature: The Life — and Death — of Robin Williams," 15 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'antic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of antic


1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1548, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for antic


Italian antico ancient thing or person, from antico ancient, from Latin antiquus — more at antique


see antic entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about antic

Listen to Our Podcast about antic

Statistics for antic

Last Updated

3 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for antic

The first known use of antic was in 1529

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for antic



English Language Learners Definition of antic

: very playful, funny, or silly


an·tic | \ˈan-tik \

Kids Definition of antic

: a wildly playful or funny act or action We laughed at the kitten's antics.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on antic

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


not any or not one

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!