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

As Baker writes, debate broke out in London over whether these increasingly baroque expeditions were the best way to conquer Everest. Ipsita Chakravarty, Quartz India, "How colonialism cost the Himalayas their remoteness," 10 June 2019 Flores expertly lampoons the narcotraficante predilection for exotic collecting and baroque violence. Julian Lucas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 10 May 2019 As Anthony becomes part of her life the cameras and the creative tools disappear and the decor becomes more sophisticated and grown up and even baroque. Vanessa Lawrence, ELLE Decor, "This London Flat is the Site of A Director's First Cinematic Love," 20 May 2019 To satisfy her appetite for freshwater pearl jewelry, Lamont-Djite wore a pair of gold-tone oblique earrings with baroque pearl accents from Alighieri, a line inspired by poet Dante Alighieri. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Look Is Money: How Three Fashion Editors Dress for Work," 19 Apr. 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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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bar opal





Statistics for baroque

Last Updated

19 Jun 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

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showing courage and determination

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