- a comic performer, as in a circus, theatrical production, or the like, who wears an outlandish costume and makeup and entertains by pantomiming common situations or actions in exaggerated or ridiculous fashion, by juggling or tumbling, etc.
- a person who acts like a clown; comedian; joker; buffoon; jester.
- a prankster; a practical joker.
- Slang. a coarse, ill-bred person; a boor.
- a peasant; rustic.
- to act like a clown.
Origin of clown
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for clown
So many families come that Vargas has arranged for a clown to entertain the kids.America’s Fastest Growing Death Holiday Is From Mexico
November 1, 2014
An 18-year-old man dressed as a clown mugged a pedestrian, striking him 30 times in the back and neck with an iron bar.French Freak-Out Over Creepy Clowns
October 31, 2014
There have more recent reports of Wasco Clown inspired sightings from as far away as Fishers, Indiana.
The subtext of the clown is that life is a joke and can be snatched away at any moment.
There is something about a clown that stays with people: the bright colors, their tendency to be demonstrative.
Kemp, the clown of his company, knew her, and dedicated a book to her rather familiarly.The Man Shakespeare
On the front seat is a peasant, laughing at the antics of the clown.
Here is a vain person, and Malvolio is imprisoned and twitted by a clown.
A clown seized Philemon's hand, and hurried him into the ring.
They will think I am a clown out for a holiday, but I can't help that.
- a comic entertainer, usually grotesquely costumed and made up, appearing in the circus
- any performer who elicits an amused response
- someone who plays jokes or tricks
- a person who acts in a comic or buffoon-like manner
- a coarse clumsy rude person; boor
- archaic a countryman or rustic
- to perform as a clown
- to play jokes or tricks
- to act foolishly
Word Origin and History for clown
1560s, clowne, also cloyne, "rustic, boor, peasant," origin uncertain. Perhaps from Scandinavian dialect (cf. Icelandic klunni "clumsy, boorish fellow;" Swedish kluns "a hard knob; a clumsy fellow," Danish klunt "log, block"), or akin to North Frisian klönne "clumsy person." Or, less likely, from Latin colonus "colonist, farmer," though awareness of this word might have influenced the sense development in English.
Meaning "professional fool, professional or habitual jester" is c.1600. "The pantomime clown represents a blend of the Shakes[pearean] rustic with one of the stock types of the It. comedy" [Weekley]. Meaning "contemptible person" is from 1920s. Fem. form clowness attested from 1801.
c.1600, "to play the clown onstage," from clown (n.); colloquial sense of "to behave inappropriately" (e.g. clown around, 1932) attested by 1928, perhaps from theatrical slang sense of "play a (non-comical) part farcically or comically" (1891). Related: Clowned; clowning.