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classic

[klas-ik]
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adjective Also classical (for defs 1–5, 8, 10).
  1. of the first or highest quality, class, or rank: a classic piece of work.
  2. serving as a standard, model, or guide: the classic method of teaching arithmetic.
  3. of or relating to Greek and Roman antiquity, especially with reference to literature and art.
  4. modeled upon or imitating the style or thought of ancient Greece and Rome: The 17th and 18th centuries were obsessed with classic ideals.
  5. of or adhering to an established set of artistic or scientific standards or methods: a classic example of mid-Victorian architecture.
  6. basic; fundamental: the classic rules of warfare.
  7. of enduring interest, quality, or style: a classic design; classic clothes.
  8. of literary or historical renown: the classic haunts of famous writers.
  9. traditional or typical: a classic comedy routine.
  10. definitive: the classic reference work on ornithology.
  11. of or relating to automobiles distinguished by elegant styling, outstanding engineering, and fine workmanship that were built between about 1925 and 1948.
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noun
  1. an author or a literary work of the first rank, especially one of demonstrably enduring quality.
  2. an author or literary work of ancient Greece or Rome.
  3. classics, the literature and languages of ancient Greece and Rome (often preceded by the).
  4. an artist or artistic production considered a standard.
  5. a work that is honored as definitive in its field: His handbook on mushrooms is a classic.
  6. something noteworthy of its kind and worth remembering: His reply was a classic.
  7. an article, as of clothing, unchanging in style: Her suit was a simple classic.
  8. a typical or traditional event, especially one that is considered to be highly prestigious or the most important of its kind: The World Series is the fall classic of baseball.
  9. Archaic. a classicist.
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Origin of classic

1605–15; (< French classique) < Latin classicus belonging to a class, belonging to the first or highest class, equivalent to class(is) class + -icus -ic
Related formsnon·clas·sic, adjectivepre·clas·sic, adjectivequa·si-clas·sic, adjective
Can be confusedclassic classical
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for classics

classics

pl n
  1. the classics a body of literature regarded as great or lasting, esp that of ancient Greece or Rome
  2. the classics the ancient Greek and Latin languages
  3. (functioning as singular) ancient Greek and Roman culture considered as a subject for academic study
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classic

adjective
  1. of the highest class, esp in art or literature
  2. serving as a standard or model of its kind; definitive
  3. adhering to an established set of rules or principles in the arts or sciencesa classic proof
  4. characterized by simplicity, balance, regularity, and purity of form; classical
  5. of lasting interest or significance
  6. continuously in fashion because of its simple and basic stylea classic day dress
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noun
  1. an author, artist, or work of art of the highest excellence
  2. a creation or work considered as definitive
  3. horse racing
    1. any of the five principal races for three-year-old horses in Britain, namely the One Thousand Guineas, Two Thousand Guineas, Derby, Oaks, and Saint Leger
    2. a race equivalent to any of these in other countries
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See also classics

Word Origin

C17: from Latin classicus of the first rank, from classis division, rank, class
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

Word Origin and History for classics

n.

"Greek and Roman writers and works," 1711, from classic (adj.).

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classic

adj.

1610s, "of the highest class; approved as a model," from French classique (17c.), from Latin classicus "relating to the (highest) classes of the Roman people," hence, "superior," from classis (see class). Originally in English, "of the first class;" meaning "belonging to standard authors of Greek and Roman antiquity" is attested from 1620s.

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classic

n.

"a Greek or Roman writer or work," 1711, from classic (adj.). So, by mid-19c., any work in any context held to have a similar quality or relationship. In classical Latin noun use of classicus meant "a Marine" (miles classicus) from the "military division" sense of classis.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

classics in Culture

classic

A descriptive term for a period in Western music, encompassing roughly the last half of the eighteenth century, that includes the works of Franz Josef Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the early works of Ludwig van Beethoven, among other composers.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.