slapstick was our Word of the Day on 10/27/2015. Hear the podcast!
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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
This slapstick isn’t even worthy of the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup — it’s vintage Three Stooges.
Their slapstick routines, involving, among other things, a tuba, a whoopee cushion, and lots of splashing water, are well-crafted and genuinely funny.
Director Steve MacKinnon has assembled a winning cast and deftly found the balance between slapstick and heart that keeps this form of theatrical storytelling aloft.
In this slapstick dashcam vid posted by a Thai YouTube account, a motorcyclist faces certain injury when a truck ahead of him on the highway loses a mattress that appears to have been held down by nothing heavier than a shrug.
This is less slapstick comedy than quirky Southern Gothic, with plenty of insights into the weird world of small-town Texas life.
There’s a big chase scene (rendered in a style similar to the other films’ adrenalized setpieces), some funky-looking alien creatures, and even a bit of slapstick.
At the Walnut, Wood’s superb comic timing is matched by Dibble’s, as an actor who can never quite complete his thought, and complemented by Martello’s slapstick skills (though her Cockney housekeeper character is initially hard to understand).
The show is both a slapstick romp and a ruthless tragedy, in which even the Chechen gangsters get pulled into the mess of emotions.
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.
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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