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
Harry Litman: Trump’s antics didn’t stop his New York hush money trial. Ryan Fonseca, Los Angeles Times, 16 Apr. 2024 According to reports from Shan Shariff of 105.3 The Fan, certain members of the Dallas Cowboys organization have grown tired of the antics of star pass rusher Micah Parsons. Lawrence Dow, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 10 Apr. 2024 He also shouldn’t be penalized for the weird All-Star game antics. Corey Masisak, The Denver Post, 6 Apr. 2024 Come for Anya Taylor-Joy's breakout performance as eldest daughter Thomasin, stay for the antics of demonic goat Black Phillip. Megan McCluskey, TIME, 5 Apr. 2024 But users suspect the platform is trying to crack down on the antics of streamers including Morgpie, who’s known for pushing the boundaries of Twitch’s rules. Michael Kan, PCMAG, 27 Mar. 2024 And then there are the signature events, with on and off the field antics. Linda Zavoral, The Mercury News, 27 Mar. 2024 In 2022, the brewery kept up the antics with an advertisement for a free beer bath complimentary of any purchase over $25. The Enquirer, 1 Apr. 2024 Continue reading here… 'FULL CRAZY' - Sean 'Diddy' Combs wouldn't 'disclose' antics with Justin Bieber in resurfaced video with teen star. Fox News Staff, Fox News, 30 Mar. 2024
His antic, allusive works latched onto genres like vampire bats, but parody was merely his vehicle for howling into the void. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, 15 Apr. 2024 Molina's path combines the beautiful and comic threads; his antic dance with a pumpkin apparently as heavy as a medicine ball would have Harold Lloyd nodding in appreciation. Jim Higgins, Journal Sentinel, 5 Apr. 2024 That febrile, antic movie mines another of Allen’s longtime motifs: the plot point of hiding evidence. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 3 Apr. 2024 Perhaps the most notorious Lopez antic is Robin’s rivalry with NBA mascots, which often ends with him and the mascot in a fake physical altercation. Skyler Trepel, Peoplemag, 27 Mar. 2024 Qualley and Viswanathan’s performances are pitched high; the former does a lot of antic monologuing. David Sims, The Atlantic, 21 Feb. 2024 An antic Pierre Cardin (Eliott Margueron), who would work on Dior’s first collection, also makes an appearance. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 14 Feb. 2024 That the story presented me with an apparent dead end gave rise to its antic propulsion. Willing Davidson, The New Yorker, 29 Jan. 2024 This makes Benji the antic bomb-thrower and wild card, which is his comfort zone. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 21 Jan. 2024

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 23 Apr. 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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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