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



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

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Other Words from antic


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

Sarriball didn't get the fans onside, nor did Kepa's cup final antics, Eden Hazard's inevitable exit was no less upsetting, while the transfer ban was the cherry on the foul-tasting cake., "Frank Lampard: Stat Shows Just How Much New Chelsea Boss Values Youth," 4 July 2019 Lesser powers can indulge in histrionic grandstanding, clownish antics, outrageous claims and public tantrums. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "Donald Trump’s Iran Show," 24 June 2019 Getty Images Once known for their attention-chasing and paparazzi-summoning antics, Spencer and Heidi are now in the spotlight for a different reason: their family. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt's Son Gunner Is Off-the-Charts Adorable," 22 June 2019 With months ahead until Swift's new album Lover, there's likely many more antics (fast food or otherwise) up her sleeve. Kathryn Lindsay,, "Taylor Swift Breaks Down The Timeline Of Her & Katy Perry's Reunion," 20 June 2019 Whereas the men adhered to the dapper-yet-understated dress code required by Ascot's Royal Enclosure, and the Queen was up to her usual monochrome antics (this time, in blue), Maxima's entire head was obscured by a veritable bouquet of fake flowers. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Queen Maxima of the Netherlands Wears a Show-Stopping Hat to Royal Ascot," 18 June 2019 As part of his other antics, during Game 4, the rapper famously trolled Golden State player, Draymond Green. Morgan M. Evans,, "Watch Drake Belt Out 'O Canada' During Game 5 of NBA Finals," 11 June 2019 Even with all the supernatural elements and Beetlejuice’s wacky antics, the musical tells a profoundly touching story about overcoming loss. Josh Aronson, Teen Vogue, "Beetlejuice: The Musical," 30 May 2019 The people in the video aren't too amused by her antics, which makes the clip even funnier. Glamour, "Emilia Clarke Hilariously Dressed Up as Jon Snow for Charity, and It's Perfection," 27 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

One such antic involved throwing his entire body at the plastic glass that divides a hockey rink from the spectators., "Rooting for ‘Chappy’: Why the Stanley Cup Finals are resurrecting Mobile Mystick memories," 6 June 2019 Zohar, Criss, Agosto and Carmitchel are having a blast on the Diversionary stage, and in these antic scenes doing so without the relationship-y navel-gazing so endemic to TV and movie rom-coms. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Diversionary’s ‘Significant Other’ lends fresh zip to familiar romantic-comedy tropes," 3 June 2019 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., "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

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.

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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

Noun and Adjective

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

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Statistics for antic

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for antic

The first known use of antic was in 1529

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More Definitions for antic



English Language Learners Definition of antic

: very playful, funny, or silly


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.

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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).


to complain fretfully

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