clas·​si·​cal | \ ˈkla-si-kəl How to pronounce classical (audio) \

Definition of classical

2a : of or relating to the ancient Greek and Roman world and especially to its literature, art, architecture, or ideals classical civilization
b : versed in the classics a classical scholar
3a : of or relating to music of the late 18th and early 19th centuries characterized by an emphasis on balance, clarity, and moderation
b : of, relating to, or being music in the educated European tradition that includes such forms as art song, chamber music, opera, and symphony as distinguished from folk or popular music or jazz
b(1) : of or relating to a form or system considered of first significance in earlier times classical Mendelian genetics
(2) : not involving relativity, wave mechanics, or quantum theory classical physics
c : conforming to a pattern of usage sanctioned by a body of literature rather than by everyday speech
5 : concerned with or giving instruction in the humanities, the fine arts, and the broad aspects of science a classical curriculum

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Examples of classical in a Sentence

the classical preparation of a ham for Easter a writer celebrated for his classical profiles of eminent Victorians

Recent Examples on the Web

When guests arrived, they were greeted with glasses of chilled Prosecco and a string quartet playing classical, subdued music. Brooke Porter Katz, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Couple Took Over a Small Town in Italy for Their Medieval-Inspired Wedding," 28 Feb. 2019 Capofaro’s architecture is classical, with arches and columns that curve outward slightly, like barrels. Howie Kahn, Smithsonian, "These Volcanic, Italian Islands Have Been Beloved by Travelers Since Homeric Times," 11 July 2018 Their setup is classical — in the sense that the chronologically told story has no surprising twists or unexpected subplots — and also a tad too leisurely. Boyd Van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Mario': Film Review," 31 May 2018 Her colors, attention to detail and materials are inspired by old masters, resulting in pieces that are classical yet modern and often whimsical. Martina Schimitschek,, "Seattle-based artist Gabrielle Bakker, in residence at Lux Art Institute, paints classical characters in contemporary settings," 27 Apr. 2018 Each song is in a different musical style (jazz, reggae, rock, Caribbean, classical, rap) and each dance has a special element such as puppets and scarves., "events by county," 28 Mar. 2018 The Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra unveiled plans for Summermusik, an August festival of diverse concert events, from classical to jazz to alternative rock, in eight different venues around the Cincinnati region. The Enquirer,, "Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra unveils eclectic Summermusik series for August 2018," 23 Mar. 2018 Quantum physics plays a part only in how the nodes create the encryption key; the subsequent encryption and transmission of information is entirely classical. Davide Castelvecchi, Scientific American, "The Quantum Internet Has Arrived (and It Hasn’t)," 16 Feb. 2018 Darker shoes represent inclusion in classical ballet Pointe shoes are typically pink to match the pink tights customary in ballet productions. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Ballet has long excluded dancers of color. A broader range of “nude” pointe shoes signal change.," 9 Nov. 2018

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

1546, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for classical

Latin classicus

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Last Updated

15 Mar 2019

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The first known use of classical was in 1546

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English Language Learners Definition of classical

: of a kind that has been respected for a long time
: of or relating to the ancient Greek and Roman world and especially to its language, literature, art, etc.
: relating to music in a European tradition that includes opera and symphony and that is generally considered more serious than other kinds of music


clas·​si·​cal | \ ˈkla-si-kəl How to pronounce classical (audio) \

Kids Definition of classical

1 : of a kind that has long been considered great classical ballet
2 : of or relating to the ancient Greek and Roman world and especially to its language and arts
3 : relating to music in a European tradition that includes opera and symphony and that is generally considered more serious than other kinds of music
4 : concerned with a general study of the arts and sciences a classical education

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Comments on classical

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


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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