adjective, often capitalized ba·roque \ bə-ˈrōk , ba- , -ˈräk , -ˈrȯk \

Definition of baroque

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



baroque was our Word of the Day on 05/20/2017. Hear the podcast!

Examples of baroque in a Sentence

  1. a somewhat baroque writing style

  2. a book filled with baroque descriptions

Recent Examples of baroque from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of baroque

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

Other Fine Arts Terms



noun, often capitalized

Definition of baroque

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

Origin and Etymology of baroque

noun derivative of 1baroque

BAROQUE Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of baroque for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


spoken rather than written

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!