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

Adjective a somewhat baroque writing style a book filled with baroque descriptions
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Approval for nuclear plants in general is baroque and can take decades, but for a brand new idea involving environmental impact within an entirely new kind of ecosystem, that process stretched out even more. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Floating Nuclear Power Plants Sounded Screwy in 1969. Today? Not So Much," 31 Jan. 2020 As Max gets sucked up in a rebellion led by Joe’s lieutenant Furiosa (Charlize Theron), Miller lovingly crams the frame with baroque detail. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The 10 Best Movie Scenes of the 2010s," 31 Dec. 2019 In 2017 Mr Kurz invited the far-right Freedom Party (FPö) into office, an experiment that collapsed last May amid a baroque scandal involving fake Russians and FPÖ corruption. The Economist, "Three’s a charm A new right-wing-Green coalition takes office in Austria," 9 Jan. 2020 Antique silks were the inspiration for Florim’s Filati di Rex collection, comprised of floral, jacquard, baroque and geometric patterns drawn from the renowned Italian fabric house Rubelli. Washington Post, "`Like theater in tile form’: Tile’s patterns, designs expand," 13 Nov. 2019 In truth, the Murphy-verse has always been animated by its embrace of all things baroque and bizarre., "She laughs. “Looking back, Ryan was probably like, ‘She’s weird,’” says the actress. “‘[But then again,] Alice is weird, so it works.’”," 7 Oct. 2019 For a kosher meal, head to the 17th-century, baroque-style Isaac Synagogue, which runs the Szalom Falafel kitchen. Malavika Bhattacharya, National Geographic, "Why is everyone going to Krakow?," 23 July 2019 Kudos to chorus director Duain Wolfe, the great CSO singers, the outstanding baroque-sized orchestra conducted by Taylor Martin, the soloists and everyone who brought a new perspective to a masterwork. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: A holiday treat from the Colorado Symphony; Lower the age limit for work; Buy, use, toss, repeat (12/25/19)," 27 Dec. 2019 Without the bright contributions of so many soloists on timpani, baroque trumpet, traverse flute, and oboe, many sections wouldn’t have been half as potent. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, "Apollo’s Fire makes vibrant case for Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in holiday canon," 17 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The two may seem like opposites — 1920s Spanish baroque and punchy Day-Glo abstraction — but each is happy to put on a show. John King,, "Oakland’s new housing towers: So-so on the skyline, but one soars on the street," 6 Jan. 2020 Compared to that exemplary print, the later work in the show borders on the baroque. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: Exhibits ‘Of This World’ and beyond," 22 Nov. 2019 The intricate designs are significant for ushering the baroque into Calabria. Frances Mayes, National Geographic, "Discover Italy’s most delicious secret," 11 July 2019 As for Ghali, the lanky, 25-year-old rapper known for his smooth flow and highly stylized videos (not to mention a wildly enthusiastic fan base!), looked equally divine in a semi-sheer shirt with baroque ruffled collar and an embroidered shawl. Vogue, "This Italian Power Couple Shutdown the Front Row at Gucci’s Cruise Show," 28 May 2019 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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Time Traveler for baroque

Time Traveler

The first known use of baroque was circa 1734

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Last Updated

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Baroque.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for baroque


How to pronounce baroque (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for baroque

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with baroque

Spanish Central: Translation of baroque

Nglish: Translation of baroque for Spanish Speakers

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