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), an·ticked, an·tick·ing.

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 formsan·ti·cal·ly, adverb
Can be confusedantic antique Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for antics

trick, joke, shenanigan, caper, romp, dido, lark, frolic, tomfoolery

Examples from the Web for antics

Contemporary Examples of antics

Historical Examples of antics

  • On the front seat is a peasant, laughing at the antics of the clown.

  • All that he had done was like the antics of a colt compared with what followed.

  • "I ought to beg your pardon for these antics," he said, adjusting his hat.


    Joseph Conrad

  • The prisoners, the jailers and spectators laughed at its antics.

  • He had, it seemed, been first of all terrified by Frank's antics.

    Red Cap Tales

    Samuel Rutherford Crockett

British Dictionary definitions for antics


pl n

absurd or grotesque acts or postures



archaic an actor in a ludicrous or grotesque part; clown; buffoon


archaic fantastic; grotesque
See also antics

Word Origin for antic

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

Word Origin and History for antics

"ludicrous behavior," 1520s; see 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