clown

noun
\ ˈklau̇n \

Definition of clown

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : a rude ill-bred person : boor
3a : a fool, jester, or comedian in an entertainment (such as a play) specifically : a grotesquely dressed comedy performer in a circus
b : a person who habitually jokes and plays the buffoon

clown

verb
clowned; clowning; clowns

Definition of clown (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to act as or like a clown always clowning around

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for clown

Synonyms: Noun

buffo, buffoon, harlequin, zany

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of clown in a Sentence

Noun

Those big shoes make you look like a clown! Who's the clown standing in the middle of the road? those clowns at the state capital
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

References to clowns, those happy/sad jesters of these traveling troupes, extended beyond the makeup to the clothes, some of which featured ruffs and harlequin patterns. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Fashion Loves a Clown: Here, 24 Big Top Looks That Prove It From Dior Haute Couture to Alexander McQueen," 21 Jan. 2019 With its strong sense of place and some seriously scary clowns, Hell House LLC is a nice compendium to last year’s huge horror hit. Dylan Scott, Vox, "13 found-footage horror movies actually worth watching this Halloween," 19 Oct. 2018 For the past three decades, Cirque du Soleil has created unique circus experiences, with eye-popping choreography, clowns, costumes, acrobatics, music, and special effects. Terry Byrne, BostonGlobe.com, "In Cirque’s ‘Luzia,’ rainfall bathes a Mexican dreamscape," 27 June 2018 There’s still the clowns, the jugglers, the almost freakish things. Kathryn Shattuck, New York Times, "Kevin Costner Revisits the American West, Now by Helicopter," 8 June 2018 Graham Burk stands out as Lavache, a classic Shakespearean clown, the knowing court jester offering incisive commentary. Theodore P. Mahne, NOLA.com, "Shakespeare Fest's 'All's Well' a rare, but frustrating comedy," 5 June 2018 The 21-year-old Harlem man was a class clown in high school and got terrible grades. Anne Kadet, WSJ, "Workforce-Training Program Shares Secret to Students’ Success: Grit," 8 Jan. 2019 But instead of going to a tailor, the company just started looking in the clown costume aisle with its Chrome OS, as exhibited by the distinctly doofy Pixel Slate. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Google keeps failing to understand tablets," 29 Nov. 2018 Performance artist Roblin Gray Davis of Juneau will create and perform a new solo show in the style of the contemporary theatrical clown, exploring themes around being a lifelong Alaskan. Anchorage Daily News, "Rasmuson Foundation announces 2018 award winners; Alvin Amason named ‘distinguished artist’," 11 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This is not just a bunch of clowns getting clowned. Zan Romanoff, Vox, "What we get wrong about multilevel marketing, explained by the host of the popular podcast about it," 30 Nov. 2018 Now, that's skewed a little from clowning Vancouver 11-on-9 last weekend, and nobody else has played more matches than Sporting. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Mellinger Minutes: Moose and the Royals' rare pace, Chiefs' draft, and one more Bud Lathrop story | The Kansas City Star," 24 Apr. 2018 Despite getting knocked out of the playoffs, Lance Stephenson is still here to clown J.R. Smith on Instagram. Dakota Crawford, Indianapolis Star, "After J.R. Smith's Game 1 blunder, Lance Stephenson drops an Instagram burn," 1 June 2018 Seems as if the airlines are still clowning and being targeted with lawsuits because of the clownery. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "Nigerian Woman, Who Was Removed From United Flight After a White Passenger Complained She Was ‘Pungent,’ Files Lawsuit," 14 May 2018 Wearing a black polka-dot dress with a signature red lip, Gomez posed for selfies with eager fans and clowned around with some of the youngest in the venue’s photobooth. Melania Hidalgo, PEOPLE.com, "Selena Gomez Surprises Fans at Hospital Prom — and Sticks Around for Selfies," 25 June 2018 Budda Baker was in Seattle this weekend and attended the UW football spring preview Saturday at Husky Stadium, where he was seen clowning around with his former coaches and teammates. Mike Carter, The Seattle Times, "Ballard shooting victim reportedly brother of ex-Husky star Budda Baker," 23 Apr. 2018 Minutes earlier, Stern delivered a characteristically bawdy address in honor of the classic New Jersey rockers, giving the band plenty of love while clowning on frontman Jon Bon Jovi, guitarist Richie Sambora and Rolling Stone scion Jann Wenner. Maeve Mcdermott, USA TODAY, "Howard Stern's 10 best Bon Jovi jokes at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction," 14 Apr. 2018 Digital assistants egg on every other appliance in the house to clown around. Joe Queenan, WSJ, "My Electronic Devices Are Laughing at Me," 22 Mar. 2018

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

Noun

1563, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1599, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for clown

Noun

probably of Low German origin; akin to Frisian klönne clumsy fellow, Old English clyne lump of metal

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about clown

Dictionary Entries near clown

Clovis I

clow

clowder

clown

clown's allheal

clownage

clown car

Statistics for clown

Last Updated

16 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for clown

The first known use of clown was in 1563

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for clown

clown

noun

English Language Learners Definition of clown

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: someone who performs in a circus, who wears funny clothes and makeup, and who tries to make people laugh
: someone who often does funny things to make people laugh
informal : a rude or stupid person

clown

verb

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

: to act like a clown : to say funny things or act in a silly way

clown

noun
\ ˈklau̇n \

Kids Definition of clown

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a performer (as in a circus) who entertains by playing tricks and who usually wears comical clothes and makeup
2 : someone who does things to make people laugh

clown

verb
clowned; clowning

Kids Definition of clown (Entry 2 of 2)

: to act in a funny or silly way : act like a clown

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on clown

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with clown

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clown

Spanish Central: Translation of clown

Nglish: Translation of clown for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clown for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about clown

Comments on clown

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to express emotion in a dramatic way

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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