Definition of slapstick
1 : a device made of two flat pieces of wood fastened at one end so as to make a loud noise when used by an actor to strike a person
2 : comedy stressing farce and horseplay; also : activity resembling slapstick
slapstickyplay \ˈslap-ˌsti-kē\ adjective
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Examples of slapstick in a Sentence
an actor whose roles range from slapstick to serious drama
a lowbrow comedy that relies heavily on slapstick for its laughs
Recent Examples of slapstick from the Web
Before her nuanced, deeply moving performance, plus-size people were just the butt of the joke: unlovable slapstick vehicles designed to shower the lithe protagonist with praise and flattery.
Stealing from the rich and giving to the poor has never been so silly as in this slapstick variation of the folktale about a bow-bearing noble bandit.
Scarlett Johansson, then still a teenager, has grown up into more interesting, less blank roles, and the post-Kingpin, non-slapstick-dependent, late-middle-aged Bill Murray persona has become a little too familiar over the years.
Captain Billy Bones, entertains with magic, slapstick and sound effects. 10:30 a.m. Wolf Trap, Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, 1551 Trap Rd.,
For Bell—whose résumé includes a year in the SNL writers' room and scene-stealing parts in 22 Jump Street and Workaholics—and fellow comedy veterans Kate McKinnon and Ilana Glazer, the slapstick-heavy script was familiar turf.
Others, including the 21 Jump Street franchise, succeeded by going against the grain, turning TV melodrama into big-screen slapstick.
Although the TV series only aired for three seasons on ABC, West's campy flare and slapstick turn as Batman remained a source of inspiration for fans.
Yet perhaps the most memorable aspect of the invasion was the most slapstick.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'slapstick.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
The idea that knocking people about made for good comedy dates as far back as the Greco-Roman theater, where clowns rambunctiously "attacked" one another onstage. The object from which the word slapstick derives, however, was invented in Italy in the 16th century. Renaissance comedy typically featured stock characters placed in ridiculous situations, and one such ubiquitous character was Harlequin, whose brilliant costuming made him easily recognizable. Harlequin was given to wielding a paddle which was designed to make a terrible noise when he hit someone, usually to the delight of the audience. This paddle was eventually known in English as a "slapstick," and it became a symbol of that type of highly physical comedy. The word slapstick then came to refer to the comedy itself.
First Known Use of slapstick
SLAPSTICK Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of slapstick for English Language Learners
: comedy that involves physical action (such as falling down or hitting people)
Seen and Heard
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