\ ˈklau̇n How to pronounce clown (audio) \

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


clowned; clowning; clowns

Definition of clown (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to act as or like a clown always clowning around

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Synonyms for clown

Synonyms: Noun

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There’s more spooks, spider-clowns and splattering fluids, and even 34 more minutes of terrifying adventures with Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Katie Walsh,, "‘It Chapter Two’ review: More clowning around with Pennywise and friends, less connection with the Losers Club," 3 Sep. 2019 The man of the evening, Lapp, attended dressed as an iteration of a sad clown and played to his character well, Hollie said. Jane Stueckemann, Houston Chronicle, "About 600 attend annual chairman’s ball hosted by Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce," 19 Aug. 2019 LaBeouf stars as a fictionalized version of his father, an ex-rodeo clown and felon, with whom Otis attempts to reconcile throughout the film. Katherine Schaffstall, The Hollywood Reporter, "Shia LaBeouf Stars as Fictionalized Version of His Father in 'Honey Boy' Trailer," 8 Aug. 2019 Saturday’s fun is from 4 p.m. to midnight and Sunday, noon to 7 p.m. with face painting, clowns and balloons from 3:30 to 5:30., "Trains stop the parade, but not the fun: Olmsted Dates and Data," 4 Aug. 2019 Rumbling in on a train from Providence, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey were bringing lions, elephants and a high-wire act, clowns and a gorilla named Gargantua to the capital city of Hartford. Mark Mirko,, "Interactive map: How the Hartford circus fire started, spread and was seen through the eyes of those who were there," 27 June 2019 Not only cars but car stereos, the crazy-clown salespeople breaking in with loud promises of rock-bottom prices and free installation. Hank Stuever, Washington Post, "Ric Ocasek showed us a way out of the ’70s. We repaid him with a zillion Friday nights.," 16 Sep. 2019 Christopher John Roger’s debut runway show drew on clowns and the paintings of Paul Gauguin. Sara Radin, Teen Vogue, "The Big Takeaway From NYFW 2019: Find More Joy," 13 Sep. 2019 The music is unsettling, and the ghoulish clown and haunting echoes of laughter rightly set the mood. Stacey Grant, Seventeen, "Are You Afraid of the Dark?," 13 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The informal posture of the two, acting like clowning chums despite differences over Britain’s expected fall departure from the EU, may be the new normal in the often-tense world of diplomacy. Washington Post, "Foot on table: British PM at home in French president palace," 24 Aug. 2019 A few yards away, fellow Wisconsin defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk was clowning with teammates. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "UW defensive ends Garrett Rand and Isaiahh Loudermilk fit for camp and champing at the bit," 31 July 2019 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,, "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

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.

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First Known Use of clown


1563, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1599, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for clown


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

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Statistics for clown

Last Updated

26 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for clown

The first known use of clown was in 1563

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More Definitions for clown


How to pronounce clown (audio)

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



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


\ ˈklau̇n How to pronounce clown (audio) \

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


clowned; clowning

Kids Definition of clown (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on clown

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clown

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with clown

Spanish Central: Translation of clown

Nglish: Translation of clown for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clown for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about clown

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