- ludicrously or whimsically comical; clownish.
- one who plays the clown or fool in order to amuse others.
- a comically wild or eccentric person.
- a secondary stock character in old comedies who mimicked his master.
- a professional buffoon; clown.
- a silly person; simpleton.
- a slavish attendant or follower.
Origin of zany
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for zany
A remembrance of the zany, ad-libbing actor who made us laugh and cry.Robin Williams, Hollywood’s Grand Jester, Is Dead at 63
August 12, 2014
The proliferation of zany burger toppings came next as an inevitable by-product of the high-end burger fad.Have We Reached ‘Peak Burger’? The Crazy Fetishization of Our Most Basic Comfort Food
July 31, 2014
It was the zany TV interview he conducted with Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS-TV that made him an instant viral celebrity.Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker, Viral Star, Now an Alleged Killer
May 17, 2013
Look at her zany appearance with Dave Letterman about tweeting on Ambien for proof of that.Kristin Chenoweth on Her Darker Role in ‘Family Weekend’
March 27, 2013
Aside from the zany plot, the film stretches the bounds of realism thanks to its bloody zombie kills.The Anti-‘Zero Dark Thirty:’ The Osama bin Laden-Meets-Zombies Movie
December 14, 2012
In the zany we see an example of creation; in the humorist, of transmission.
The zany was progenitor to the specialist in humor, as we to-day have the unhappiness to know him.
They sometimes acted the part of a fool or zany (morio), or of a madman.A History of Caricature and Grotesque
The explanation of it was that the Shawanoe was a zany or lunatic.Blazing Arrow
Edward S. Ellis
Boswell's Tour of the Hebrides was "the story of a mountebank and his zany."
- comical in an endearing way; imaginatively funny or comical, esp in behaviour
- a clown or buffoon, esp one in old comedies who imitated other performers with ludicrous effect
- a ludicrous or foolish person
Word Origin and History for zany
comic performer, 1580s, from French zani, from Italian zani, zanni "a zany, clown," originally Zanni, Venetian dialect variant of Gianni, pet form of Giovanni "John." A stock character in old comedies, he aped the principal actors.
1869, from zany (n.). Related: Zanily; zaniness.