1 of 2


an·​tic ˈan-tik How to pronounce antic (audio)
: an attention-drawing, often wildly playful or funny act or action : caper
usually plural
childish antics
archaic : a performer of a grotesque or ludicrous part : buffoon


2 of 2


: characterized by clownish extravagance or absurdity
an antic farce
: whimsically lighthearted : frolicsome
Gelbart's intelligence is antic and playful.Lloyd Rose
archaic : grotesque, bizarre
antically 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

Noun we'll have no more of your antics, so just settle down
Recent Examples on the Web
Montour is backing up the antics with his performance on the ice, too. Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald, 12 May 2024 Others railed against the slapstick antics and pidgin English of Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best), hyped as the first-ever CG main character in a live-action movie. Angelique Jackson, Variety, 11 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for antic 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'antic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Adjective

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

First Known Use


1564, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1536, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of antic was in 1536


Dictionary Entries Near antic

Cite this Entry

“Antic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
an·​tic ˈant-ik How to pronounce antic (audio)
: a wildly playful or funny act or action


2 of 2 adjective
: wildly playful : frolicsome

More from Merriam-Webster on antic

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