[ goth-ik ]
See synonyms for Gothic on
  1. noting or pertaining to a style of architecture, originating in France in the middle of the 12th century and existing in the western half of Europe through the middle of the 16th century, characterized by the use of the pointed arch and the ribbed vault, by the use of fine woodwork and stonework, by a progressive lightening of structure, and by the use of such features as flying buttresses, ornamental gables, crockets, and foils.

  2. pertaining to or designating the style of painting, sculpture, etc., produced between the 13th and 15th centuries, especially in northern Europe, characterized by a tendency toward realism and interest in detail.

  1. of or relating to Goths or their language.

  2. of or relating to the music, especially of northern Europe, of the period roughly from 1200 to 1450, including that of the Ars Antiqua, Ars Nova, and the Burgundian school.

  3. pertaining to the Middle Ages; medieval.

  4. (sometimes lowercase) noting or pertaining to a style of literature characterized by a gloomy setting, grotesque, mysterious, or violent events, and an atmosphere of degeneration and decay:19th-century Gothic novels.

  5. (often lowercase) being of a genre of contemporary fiction typically relating the experiences of an often ingenuous heroine imperiled, as at an old mansion, where she typically becomes involved with a stern or mysterious but attractive man.

  6. of or relating to the goth subculture or musical scene.

  7. noting or pertaining to the alphabetic script introduced for the writing of Gothic by Ulfilas and derived by him from Greek uncials with the addition of some Latin and some invented letters.

  8. (usually lowercase) barbarous or crude.

  1. the arts and crafts of the Gothic period.

  2. the extinct Germanic language of the Goths, preserved especially in the 4th-century translation by Ulfilas of the Bible. Abbreviations: Goth, Goth.

  1. (often lowercase) a story, play, film, or other work in the gothic style.

  2. (sometimes lowercase)British. black letter.

  3. (sometimes lowercase) a square-cut printing type without serifs or hairlines.

Origin of Gothic

First recorded in 1605–15; from Late Latin Gothicus “of, pertaining to the Goths”; see origin at Goth, -ic

Other words from Gothic

  • Goth·i·cal·ly, adverb
  • Goth·ic·ness, Goth·ic·i·ty [go-this-i-tee], /gɒˈθɪs ɪ ti/, noun
  • non-Gothic, adjective
  • post-Gothic, adjective
  • pre-Gothic, adjective, noun
  • pseudo-Gothic, adjective
  • un·Goth·ic, adjective

Words Nearby Gothic Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use Gothic in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Gothic


/ (ˈɡɒθɪk) /

  1. denoting, relating to, or resembling the style of architecture that was used in W Europe from the 12th to the 16th centuries, characterized by the lancet arch, the ribbed vault, and the flying buttress: See also Gothic Revival

  2. of or relating to the style of sculpture, painting, or other arts as practised in W Europe from the 12th to the 16th centuries

  1. (sometimes not capital) of or relating to a literary style characterized by gloom, the grotesque, and the supernatural, popular esp in the late 18th century: When used of modern literature, films, etc, sometimes spelt: Gothick

  2. of, relating to, or characteristic of the Goths or their language

  3. (sometimes not capital) primitive and barbarous in style, behaviour, etc

  4. of or relating to the Middle Ages

  5. another word for Goth (def. 4)

  1. Gothic architecture or art

  2. the extinct language of the ancient Goths, known mainly from fragments of a translation of the Bible made in the 4th century by Bishop Wulfila: See also East Germanic

  1. Also called (esp Brit): black letter the family of heavy script typefaces

  2. another word for Goth (def. 3)

Derived forms of Gothic

  • Gothically, adverb

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

Cultural definitions for Gothic


In European architecture, the dominant style during the late Middle Ages, characterized by slender towers, pointed arches, soaring ceilings, and flying buttresses. Many great cathedrals (see also cathedral), including Chartres and Notre Dame de Paris, were built in this style.

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.