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[an-tik] /ˈæn tɪk/
Usually, antics.
  1. a playful trick or prank; caper.
  2. a grotesque, fantastic, or ludicrous gesture, act, or posture.
  1. an actor in a grotesque or ridiculous presentation.
  2. a buffoon; clown.
  1. a grotesque theatrical presentation; ridiculous interlude.
  2. a grotesque or fantastic sculptured figure, as a gargoyle.
ludicrous; funny.
fantastic; odd; grotesque:
an antic disposition.
verb (used without object), anticked, anticking.
Obsolete. to perform antics; caper.
Origin of antic
1520-30; earlier antike, antique < Italian antico ancient (< Latin antīcus, antīquus; see antique), apparently taken to mean “grotesque,” as used in descriptions of fantastic figures found in Roman ruins
Related forms
antically, adverb
Can be confused
antic, antique. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for antic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "I recall one antic, just before you left us—" He broke off to meditate.

  • I spoke to her, and she complained about the antic behaviour of the land.

  • A sample, a fair sample, of the antic tricks we cut up on the beach of Manatomana.

    The Red One Jack London
  • "I'm paid for my body, not for my voice; so let my body play the antic," she muttered, angrily.

    Sylvia & Michael Compton Mackenzie
  • The situation seemed, in antic irony, to be reversing itself.

    Satan Sanderson

    Hallie Erminie Rives
  • From the sublime to the arabesque is but a semitone in his antic mind.

    Ivory Apes and Peacocks James Huneker
  • I had to humor that antic creature to worm his secret from him.

    A Maid of the Kentucky Hills Edwin Carlile Litsey
British Dictionary definitions for antic


(archaic) an actor in a ludicrous or grotesque part; clown; buffoon
(archaic) fantastic; grotesque
See also antics
Word Origin
C16: from Italian antico something ancient, or grotesque (from its application to fantastic carvings found in ruins of ancient Rome); see antique
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for antic

1520s, "grotesque or comical gesture," from Italian antico "antique," from Latin antiquus "old" (see antique). Originally (like grotesque) a 16c. Italian word referring to the strange and fantastic representations on ancient murals unearthed around Rome (especially originally the Baths of Titus, rediscovered 16c.); later extended to "any bizarre thing or behavior," in which sense it first arrived in English. As an adjective in English from 1580s, "grotesque, bizarre."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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