clas·​sic | \ ˈkla-sik How to pronounce classic (audio) \

Definition of classic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : serving as a standard of excellence : of recognized value classic literary works a classic case study on hysteria
b : traditional, enduring classic designs
c : characterized by simple tailored lines in fashion year after year a classic suit
2 : of or relating to the ancient Greeks and Romans or their culture : classical
3a : historically memorable a classic battle
b : noted because of special literary or historical associations Paris is the classic refuge of expatriates
4a : authentic, authoritative a classic study of eyewitness accounts
b : typical a classic example of chicanery a classic error
5 capitalized : of or relating to the period of highest development of Mesoamerican and especially Mayan culture about a.d. 300–900



Definition of classic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a literary work of ancient Greece or Rome studied the classics in college
2a : a work of enduring excellence His manual of biology has become a classic among scientists. also : its author He had already become a classic many years before his death.
b : an authoritative source
3 : a typical or perfect example His march through the wilderness of Maine has been regarded as a classic of perseverance.
4 : a traditional event a football classic

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of classic in a Sentence


She prefers classic furniture designs. It's a classic suit that won't go out of style. I like the car's classic contours. The battle was a classic example of poor planning.


That car is a classic. I like to read the classics. He teaches classics at the local university. She studied classics in college. an interest in the classics The football game is a Thanksgiving classic.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The latter fixture was a must-win for Liverpool and turned out to be a European classic despite the low scoreline as both sides played some brilliant attacking football., "Napoli vs Liverpool Preview: Where to Watch, Buy Tickets, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News," 15 Sep. 2019 Members of the local Chrysler Product Owners Club will have antique, classic and modern cars on display on the Clarksville Commons Plaza., "Electric Car Show coming to Clarksville Commons," 13 Sep. 2019 The company’s artists and acrobats will perform classic and contemporary circus routines for your amusement and/or amazement. Matt Cooper, Los Angeles Times, "7 things to do in L.A. and the O.C., including an Alan Turing dance and Tarfest," 12 Sep. 2019 Stateside, the Criterion Channel streaming service, launched in April with more than 1,000 classic and contemporary films as a domestic replacement for Filmstruck, which WarnerMedia shuttered after two years in service. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, "Toronto: Criterion Collection Lands Canadian Distributor," 6 Sep. 2019 Ora wore a deconstructed little black dress with lace details and fishnet stockings, while Charli XCX’s take on an LBD was more classic with a revealing keyhole moment tied up with a velvet bow. Heran Mamo, Billboard, "What Men? Rita Ora, Charli XCX & Kylie Minogue Rep for the Ladies at British GQ Men of the Year Awards," 4 Sep. 2019 The good news was that the building structure was classic and had wonderfully high ceilings. Ben Protess, New York Times, "Trump’s Signature New York Hotel and the Art of the Compromise," 25 Aug. 2019 Thermos 16-ounce stainless-steel food jar ($24.99): Honestly, nothing could be more classic — read: retro — than carrying one of these full of soup for lunch. Kristen Hartke, Washington Post, "The best eco-friendly containers to save you from Sad Desk Lunch syndrome," 20 Aug. 2019 Like Popeyes fried chicken, the chicken sandwich comes in two versions, classic and spicy, both of which are beautifully simple. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, "The Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Is Here to Save America," 20 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

What’s better than hearing all four coaches from the upcoming season of The Voice sing a classic song together? Marcus Jones,, "Watch The Voice coaches John Legend, Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton, and Gwen Stefani cover 'More Than Words'," 13 Sep. 2019 The vocal talent and his band, the Blues Grifters played soulful ballads and blues classics to hundreds to Houston fans. Alison Medley, Houston Chronicle, "Texas rising stars, Nakia and the Blues Grifters bring soulful sound to Houston's Market Square," 13 Sep. 2019 His personal favorite is the poblano verde eggs Benedict, a breakfast classic with an Arizona twist. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, azcentral, "Here's when popular Tucson brunch spot Prep & Pastry will open its Scottsdale location," 12 Sep. 2019 Simon revealed that Paul had given Kodi special permission to perform the iconic 1970 classic after seeing his initial audition. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'AGT' Fans Are Convinced They Figured Out Season 14’s Winner a Week Before the Finale," 11 Sep. 2019 The film’s poster adorned university dorm rooms, while the critical community, which itself includes many young men, later deemed it a cult classic. N.e.g., The Economist, "“Fight Club” presaged the darker corners of the internet," 10 Sep. 2019 Almost instantaneously, The Handmaid’s Tale became a modern classic. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Challenge of Margaret Atwood," 5 Sep. 2019 And in keeping with tradition, the classic Haunted Mansion attraction is getting its annual Halloween makeover. Arthur Levine, USA TODAY, "Want your Halloween horror-filled or Not-So-Scary? Pick your poison at Disney or Universal," 16 Sep. 2019 In addition to those Italian American and Scandinavian classics, meatballs can feature a wide range of ingredients to suit the season, your favorite ingredients or even your mood. NBC News, "7 flavorful, fuss-free meatball recipes," 15 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'classic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of classic


1597, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1684, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for classic


French or Latin; French classique, from Latin classicus of the highest class of Roman citizens, of the first rank, from classis — see class entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about classic

Statistics for classic

Last Updated

9 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for classic

The first known use of classic was in 1597

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for classic



English Language Learners Definition of classic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

used to say that something has come to be considered one of the best of its kind
used to say that something is an example of excellence
used to describe something that has been popular for a long time



English Language Learners Definition of classic (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that has been considered to be excellent for a long time
: the study of the literature, language, and culture of ancient Greece and Rome
: a traditional event


clas·​sic | \ ˈkla-sik How to pronounce classic (audio) \

Kids Definition of classic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : serving as a model of the best of its kind It's a classic story for children.
2 : fashionable year after year a classic style
3 : of or relating to the ancient Greeks and Romans or their culture classic sculptures
4 : being typical of its kind a classic mistake



Kids Definition of classic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a written work or author of ancient Greece or Rome
2 : a great work of art a classic of literature
3 : something long regarded as outstanding of its kind a classic car


clas·​sic | \ ˈklas-ik How to pronounce classic (audio) \
variants: or classical \ -​i-​kəl How to pronounce classical (audio) \

Medical Definition of classic

: standard or recognized especially because of great frequency or consistency of occurrence the classic triad of urethritis, conjunctivitis, and arthritis signaling Reiter's syndromeEmergency Medicine

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on classic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for classic

Spanish Central: Translation of classic

Nglish: Translation of classic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of classic for Arabic Speakers

Comments on classic

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


a bell tower

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!