1 : fanciful, bizarre
2 : absurdly incongruous
3 : departing markedly from the natural, the expected, or the typical
Did You Know?
During the Italian Renaissance, Romans of culture took a great interest in their country's past and began excavating ancient buildings. During their excavations, they uncovered chambers (known in Italian as "grotte," in reference to their cavelike appearance) decorated with artwork depicting fantastic combinations of human and animal forms interwoven with strange fruits and flowers. The Italian word "grottesca" became the name for this unique art style, and by 1561 it had mutated into the English noun "grotesque." The adjective form of "grotesque" was first used in the early 17th century to describe the decorative art but is now used to describe anything bizarre, incongruous, or unusual.
Gargoyles with twisted faces and grotesque features leered down from the medieval cathedral.
"At a private event earlier this year, chef Ryan Poli sent out what looked like birds' nests filled with cracked eggs, inside of which were black particles…. These goodies were the highlight of the evening: rich, earthy, a little grotesque-looking -- and funny." -- From an article by David Hammon in Chicago Sun-Times, May 11, 2011
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