adjective, often capitalized
ba·​roque | \ bə-ˈrōk How to pronounce baroque (audio) , ba-, -ˈräk, -ˈrȯk\

Definition of baroque

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 art : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of a style of artistic expression prevalent especially in the 17th century that is marked generally by use of complex forms, bold ornamentation, and the juxtaposition of contrasting elements often conveying a sense of drama, movement, and tension a baroque cathedral baroque music and literature the baroque period
2 : characterized by grotesqueness, extravagance, complexity, or flamboyance a truly baroque act of sabotage— G. N. Shuster
3 of gems : irregularly shaped a baroque pearl


noun, often capitalized

Definition of baroque (Entry 2 of 2)

art : the baroque style or the period in which it flourished

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Other Words from baroque


baroquely adverb

Did You Know?


Baroque came to English from a French word meaning "irregularly shaped." At first, the word in French was used mostly to refer to pearls. Eventually, it came to describe an extravagant style of art characterized by curving lines, gilt, and gold. This type of art, which was prevalent especially in the 17th century, was sometimes considered to be excessively decorated and overly complicated. It makes sense, therefore, that the meaning of the word baroque has broadened to include anything that seems excessively ornate or elaborate.

Examples of baroque in a Sentence


a somewhat baroque writing style a book filled with baroque descriptions

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

And unlike the baroque Queen's taste, this party is actually affordable. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Versailles Is Putting on a Rave in the Hall of Mirrors," 29 Mar. 2019 At first glance, the pattern seems slightly baroque—maybe Versace or Gucci, or perhaps some kind of post-Internet art-kid print. Liz Raiss, GQ, "Look at Tom Brady's Incredibly Tiny Shorts," 3 May 2018 Winds batter ridges where seabirds howl like banshees, and jackals stalk baroque canyons of soft crumbling rock. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Going Off-Grid in Namibia," 21 Dec. 2018 Though its bones are of a different time, the house has a sleek, modern kitchen and an updated bathroom that creates a pleasing contrast with the apartment’s more baroque features. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Swedish apartment for sale is a daring mix of old and new," 17 Sep. 2018 Wheelock, the former curator of northern baroque painting at the National Gallery of Art, is a professor of art history the University of Maryland. Arthur Wheelock, WSJ, "Well-Worn Life, Frozen In Time," 19 Oct. 2018 Founders of Gloomhaven, on the other hand, which made half a million dollars on Kickstarter last summer, could not be further from the baroque, sprawling weirdness of its illustrious ancestor. Tom Mendelsohn, Ars Technica, "Review: Founders of Gloomhaven groans beneath its own weight," 22 Sep. 2018 Dubrovsky’s eight string players, plus Mark Shuldiner on harpsichord and Brandon Acker on theorbo and baroque guitar, include some of the city’s finest period players. John Von Rhein,, "Vivica Genaux delivers exciting Vivaldi vocals with Third Coast Baroque," 8 Apr. 2018 The sybaritic Cardinal Flavio Chigi amassed an impressive collection of 17th-century baroque paintings and furnishings, which remain on display. Laura Itzkowitz, Condé Nast Traveler, "5 Best Day Trips from Rome," 5 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Turkish baroque mingled Western and Ottoman styles. The Economist, "Turkey’s central bank has streamlined its fight against inflation," 31 May 2018 This show’s willingness to go for baroque, adding on oddity with gusto, recalls the best and–in moments–worst of Six Feet Under. Daniel D'addario, Time, "Here and Now Is a Frank Family Saga Suited for This Moment," 8 Feb. 2018 Leave a Note Ulysses Grant was a complex and often contradictory figure and so is the San Diego hotel that bares his name, an eye-catching blend of post-modern minimalism and the neo-baroque Empire style that flourished during his presidency. Condé Nast Traveler, "The US Grant (Luxury Collection)," 20 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'baroque.' 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 baroque


circa 1734, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1852, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for baroque


French, from Middle French barroque irregularly shaped (of a pearl), from Portuguese barroco irregularly shaped pearl


noun derivative of baroque entry 1

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bar opal





Statistics for baroque

Last Updated

10 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for baroque

The first known use of baroque was circa 1734

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More Definitions for baroque



English Language Learners Definition of baroque

: of or relating to a dramatic style of art and music that was common in the 17th and early 18th centuries and that featured many decorative parts and details
: having many details or too many details

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More from Merriam-Webster on baroque

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with baroque

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for baroque

Spanish Central: Translation of baroque

Nglish: Translation of baroque for Spanish Speakers

Comments on baroque

What made you want to look up baroque? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or proceed with twists and turns

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