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 pluralchildish 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 The plays-within-a-play, all the behind-the-scenes antics and the gender-script-flipping flow much more fluently live. Lee Williams | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "The play’s the thing, not the movie, when it comes to ‘Shakespeare in Love’," 4 Nov. 2019 Trump appalls many reasonable people by some of his antics and utterances, but his supporters are rock-solid at only slightly less than half the country, and enough to have got him elected. Conrad Black, National Review, "The Impeachment Farce Limps Along to Its Anticlimax," 30 Oct. 2019 Johansson provides a perfect foil to all the antics as Rosie, who knows the real Jojo is still there somewhere under the Nazi uniform. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: Jojo Rabbit walks a fine line between humor and heart," 21 Oct. 2019 January 20, 1935 to October 18, 2019, Don loved sharing fantastically embellished tales of his childhood antics and outdoor adventures in Rutland, Vermont. courant.com, "Donald F. Nesto," 21 Oct. 2019 Given all the pregame antics, his game on Tuesday could have easily gone awry. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, "Drew Doughty gets last laugh over Flames fans obsessed with Matthew Tkachuk feud," 9 Oct. 2019 Burroughs’ connection with Smith feels deeper, beyond druggie antics and glam personae, partly because she was drawn to him as a man, not just as an idol. Alexander C. Kafka, Houston Chronicle, "How David Bowie, Jimmy Page, Patti Smith and other musicians fell for William S. Burroughs," 29 June 2019 The vast majority of that irresistibility is due to the insane antics and slyly addictive acting of one Doug Santana. Joanne Engelhardt, The Mercury News, "Theater review: Don’t think twice; go see ‘Two Guvnors’," 20 June 2019 Those unable to catch the production can soon enjoy the titular Fleabag and all her bawdy antics when the show’s second season premieres on May 17. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Anna Wintour Welcomes Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Fleabag to New York With an Intimate Dinner," 13 Mar. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Director Lonny Price tries to infuse the farcical, bloody proceedings with antic comic energy, but his staging, including one scene in which the performers wave long, billowing white sheets to indicate paradise, feels forced more often than not. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Scotland, PA': Theater Review," 24 Oct. 2019 Several cameras captured Benoliel's spontaneous strut and Hadid putting an end to the antic. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Woman crashes Chanel runway show until Gigi Hadid bounces her off stage," 1 Oct. 2019 The movie’s an exposition Exposition, a textbook example of telling instead of showing, in which Linklater and two co-writers wrestle Semple’s antic plot onto the screen and lose. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Cate Blanchett makes a break for it in ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’," 15 Aug. 2019 But these contrapuntal beats are too infrequent, and the director, Urie, hasn’t worked enough nuance into the more antic sections. Celia Wren, Washington Post, "Too much monotone in ‘Bright Colors’ at Studio Theatre," 15 July 2019 And if Monday’s one-minute teaser trailer is any indication, the show wants to be a rager, with wild nights set in the 1800s and a period cast boasting a slew of antic-ready youngsters. Los Angeles Times, "What the ‘Dickinson’? Trailer for AppleTV+ comedy turns poet into a party girl," 26 Aug. 2019 And Weaving excels in the both the antic and ferocious extremes. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "‘Ready or Not’ review: I take this man as my lawful wedded husband. Now, hand me that crossbow.," 19 Aug. 2019 Ultimately, the cliched characterizations weaken Why Women Kill far more than its antic hijinks. Robyn Bahr, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Why Women Kill': TV Review," 15 Aug. 2019 Now that he is poised to become prime minister, there’s a jarring contrast between the air of antic hilarity that so often accrues to Johnson’s public image and the utter seriousness of Britain’s political predicament. Christina Boyle, Los Angeles Times, "Boris Johnson, one of Britain’s most eccentric politicians, on track to be next prime minister," 22 July 2019

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

14 Nov 2019

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for antic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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 speed up the process or progress of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • pasta resembling wheels with spokes
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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!