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



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

Noun we'll have no more of your antics, so just settle down
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Barbara’s antics lead her to be stung by a nasty horde of bees and then, horror of horrors, to endure the unsightly welts that blossom on her face, rendering her physically unbecoming, at least temporarily. Longreads, "“The Leaky Vessel”: On Lewis Carroll and the Perils of Being Female," 27 Mar. 2020 Duff said in a clip with a laugh at her daughter’s antics. Ashley Boucher,, "Hilary Duff Says 13-Month-Old Daughter Banks Ate Dirt While Taking Thanksgiving Family Selfie," 29 Nov. 2019 Generally, a team looks the other way and ignores such antics as long as the on-field production warrants it, then moves on when the headaches outweigh the gratification of the football results. Mark Maske,, "The Raiders are experiencing the full force of Antonio Brown’s diva receiver act," 11 Aug. 2019 Generally, a team looks the other way and ignores such antics as long as the on-field production warrants it, then moves on when the headaches outweigh the gratification of the football results. Mark Maske,, "Analysis: The Raiders are experiencing the full force of Antonio Brown’s diva act," 11 Aug. 2019 Baffert said of Improbable’s antics in the starting gate. Stephen Whyno, The Seattle Times, "War of Will wins Preakness featuring riderless running horse," 19 May 2019 Here’s to 150 more episodes of the Baxter family’s antics! Megan Stein, Country Living, "Eagle-Eyed Fans Call Out Tim Allen for This 'Last Man Standing' Photo," 1 Mar. 2019 But that isn’t enough for the media and Democrats because Republicans refused to let Mr. Trump’s antics interfere with accomplishing their legislative goals. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Check on Trump? Good Luck," 5 Nov. 2018 See the couples, families, and solo adventurers munching on snacks and laughing at the antics onscreen. Aric Jenkins, Fortune, "Drive-in theaters are back. These are the movies you can see, and where you can see them," 15 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Over the years, BigHat has done hilarious, deadpan video lectures, demonstrations, and antic performances, collaborating... Karen Wilkin, WSJ, "The Art of FaceTime Portraiture," 15 June 2020 Its value is in the heady mix of high and low, the antic yet clear-eyed take on race relations, the parade of tragic and comic bit players, and above all, the unleashed chattering of Chungpa’s distinctive voice. Ed Park, The New York Review of Books, "Like No One They’d Ever Seen," 8 Apr. 2020 The earnest yet antic practicalities of daily work, involving ladders and valves and pride and humiliation, unfold at a tantalizing, exquisitely agonizing pace. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "What to Stream: The 1978 Film That Inspired Robert Redford to Found Sundance," 1 Apr. 2020 An antic adaptation of several ancient comedies by Plautus, featuring a book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, and the first Broadway show for which Sondheim created both music and lyrics. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Now You Know: A Critic’s Guide to Sondheim," 12 Mar. 2020 Fear not: Familiarity with the novel is no prerequisite for enjoying this antic show, a madcap mash-up of live performance, prominent video and much audience participation. Laura Collins-hughes, New York Times, "Review: A Salon With Strangers in a Freewheeling ‘War and Peace’," 30 Mar. 2018 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,, "Cate Blanchett makes a break for it in ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’," 15 Aug. 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.

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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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Time Traveler for antic

Time Traveler

The first known use of antic was in 1529

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Statistics for antic

Last Updated

12 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Antic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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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

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

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