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Synonym Chooser

How is the word grotesque different from other adjectives like it?

The words bizarre and fantastic are common synonyms of grotesque. While all three words mean "conceived, made, or carried out without adherence to truth or reality," grotesque may apply to what is conventionally ugly but artistically effective or it may connote ludicrous awkwardness or incongruity often with sinister or tragic overtones.

grotesque statues on the cathedral
though grieving, she made a grotesque attempt at a smile

When could bizarre be used to replace grotesque?

In some situations, the words bizarre and grotesque are roughly equivalent. However, bizarre applies to the sensationally strange and implies violence of contrast or incongruity of combination.

a bizarre medieval castle in the heart of a modern city

When would fantastic be a good substitute for grotesque?

The words fantastic and grotesque are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, fantastic may connote extravagance in conception or ingenuity of decorative invention.

dreamed up fantastic rumors


Thesaurus Entries Near grotesque

Cite this Entry

“Grotesque.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

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