antic

noun
an·​tic | \ ˈan-tik How to pronounce antic (audio) \

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

antic

adjective

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

Adjective

antically \ ˈan-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce antically (audio) \ adverb

Did You Know?

Adjective

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

Noun

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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Moore argues for his left-leaning political views passionately and forcefully, often building his case by mixing damning archival footage and expert interviews with his own goofy antics and sly commentary. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "In Fahrenheit 11/9, Michael Moore spares no one — especially self-satisfied liberals," 7 Sep. 2018 With the perfect play pal in big sister Mia, who is known for her cheeky antics and fun-loving nature, Lena will also be close in age to Kate Middleton and Prince William‘s youngest child, Prince Louis. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "The Queen's Granddaughter Zara Tindall Steps Out to Cheer for Husband 2 Weeks After Welcoming Baby Lena," 1 July 2018 Kung Fu Kenny touches on his ascension, being named after The Temptations' Eddie Kendricks, winning a Pulitzer Prize, Kanye West's recent antics, and much more. Michael Saponara, Billboard, "Kendrick Lamar Details Pulitzer Prize Honor, Kanye's Support of Donald Trump: 'He Has His Own Perspective'," 28 June 2018 The doctor's legacy will be celebrated through an interactive performance that will include singing, zany antics and crazy props. Jeff Piorkowski/special To Cleveland.com, cleveland.com, "The Monkees to open 80th Cain Park season; a benefit night for Shaker Schools; more: Press Run," 23 Feb. 2018 Neymar has, according to Marca, been kept away from all media duties, despite being the figurehead of the team and its most popular member, specifically to shield him from tricky questions about his antics here in Russia. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Brazil is desperately trying to coddle Neymar, whose talent outweighs dramatic antics," 5 July 2018 Luckily, some of our favorite things about 13 Reasons Why (high school, drama, mystery) can be found in a lot of other shows, and the internet is full of TV about teenage antics right at your fingertips. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "12 Shows To Watch Once You've Finished 13 Reasons Why," 27 May 2018 Season 7, Episode 6 Consider Peep Show a kind of follow-up to Absolutely Fabulous, but with two bumbling Gen X bros; this New Year’s Eve episode is no exception to Mark and Jeremy’s usual cringe-worthy comedic antics. Vogue, "The Best New Year’s Eve–Theme Movies and TV Shows to Watch Tonight," 31 Dec. 2018 Arrests during the holiday period have been gradually dropping since 2010, when the Police Department first began cracking down in West Newport, where residents had long complained about out-of-control antics. Hannah Fry, latimes.com, "Police vow crackdown on illegal fireworks, as ‘safe and sane’ ones go on sale in Costa Mesa and Huntington," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The sketch showcases Burnett at her sharpest and most antic during her earliest years on TV. Tom Keogh, The Seattle Times, "Carol Burnett comes to Seattle to banter, answer questions — and possibly do the Tarzan yell," 9 Oct. 2018 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. SI.com, "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, latimes.com, "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, courant.com, "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

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

Noun

1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for antic

Noun and Adjective

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about antic

Listen to Our Podcast about antic

Statistics for antic

Last Updated

7 Mar 2019

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

antic

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of antic

: very playful, funny, or silly

antic

noun
an·​tic | \ ˈan-tik How to pronounce antic (audio) \

Kids Definition of antic

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on antic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with antic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for antic

Spanish Central: Translation of antic

Nglish: Translation of antic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of antic for Arabic Speakers

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

to corrupt or become corrupted

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Green Quiz

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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