Word of the Day : October 22, 2013

antic

play
adjective AN-tik

Definition

1 : characterized by clownish extravagance or absurdity

2 : frolicsome

Did You Know?

When Renaissance Italians began exploring the ancient Roman ruins around them, they discovered fantastic mural paintings that they called "grottesca" (which means "grotesques," a name given to the paintings because they were found in caves, or "grotte"). Because they were so old, the murals were also called "antichi," or "ancient things." English speakers adopted "antichi," modifying it to "antike" or "anticke," and eventually any behavior or dress reminiscent of the kind depicted in the Roman murals became known as an "antic." Within 20 years of its earliest recorded uses as a noun, "antic" began appearing as an English adjective. Originally, it meant "grotesque" or "bizarre" (a sense now considered archaic), but today it means "playful, funny, or absurd" and the noun means "an often wildly playful or funny act."


Examples

As the movie progresses the characters become involved in a series of antic misadventures, each one funnier and more absurd than the last.

"Yet the star of the memoir may be Ms. Rockefeller's mother, Peggy, who battled depression and the exigencies of her role as a Rockefeller wife with an antic wit and a passion for rural life, both of which qualities she worked hard to instill in her children." - From a book review by Penelope Green in The New York Times, September 11, 2013



Word Family Quiz

What relative of "antic" means "belonging to an earlier period, style, or fashion"? The answer is …


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