See more synonyms for gothic on
  1. (usually initial capital letter) 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. (usually initial capital letter) 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.
  3. (initial capital letter) of or relating to Goths or their language.
  4. (usually initial capital letter) 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.
  5. (usually initial capital letter) pertaining to the Middle Ages; medieval.
  6. (sometimes initial capital letter) barbarous or crude.
  7. (often initial capital letter) 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.
  8. (initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to the alphabetical 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.
  9. (often initial capital letter) 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.
  1. (usually initial capital letter) the arts and crafts of the Gothic period.
  2. (initial capital letter) the extinct Germanic language of the Goths, preserved especially in the 4th-century translation by Ulfilas of the Bible. Abbreviation: Goth, Goth., goth.
  3. (often initial capital letter) a story, play, film, or other work in the gothic style.
  4. (usually initial capital letter) British. black letter.
  5. (often initial capital letter) a square-cut printing type without serifs or hairlines.

Origin of gothic

First recorded in 1605–15, gothic is from the Late Latin word Gothicus of, pertaining to the Goths. See Goth, -ic
Related formsgoth·i·cal·ly, adverbgoth·ic·ness, goth·ic·i·ty [go-this-i-tee] /gɒˈθɪs ɪ ti/, nounnon-Goth·ic, adjectivepost-Goth·ic, adjectivepre-Goth·ic, adjective, nounpro-Goth·ic, adjectivepseu·do-Goth·ic, adjectiveun·goth·ic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for gothic

grotesque, eerie, barbaric, barbarous, mysterious

Examples from the Web for gothic

Contemporary Examples of gothic

Historical Examples of gothic

British Dictionary definitions for gothic


  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 buttressSee 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
  3. (sometimes not capital) of or relating to a literary style characterized by gloom, the grotesque, and the supernatural, popular esp in the late 18th centuryWhen used of modern literature, films, etc, sometimes spelt: Gothick
  4. of, relating to, or characteristic of the Goths or their language
  5. (sometimes not capital) primitive and barbarous in style, behaviour, etc
  6. of or relating to the Middle Ages
  7. 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 WulfilaSee also East Germanic
  3. Also called (esp Brit): black letter the family of heavy script typefaces
  4. another word for Goth (def. 3)
Derived FormsGothically, 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

Word Origin and History for gothic



"of the Goths," Germanic people who lived in Eastern Europe c.100 C.E., "pertaining to the Goths or their language," 1610s, from Late Latin Gothicus, from Gothi, Greek Gothoi, all from Gothic gutþiuda "Gothic people," the first element cognate with Old Norse gotar "men." "The sense 'men' is usually taken to be the secondary one, but as the etymology of the word is unknown, this is uncertain" [Gordon]. The unhistorical -th- in English is from Late Latin.

Used in sense of "savage despoiler" (1660s) in reference to their fifth-century sacking of Roman cities (cf. vandal, and French gothique, still with a sense of "barbarous, rude, cruel"). Gothic also was used by scholars to mean "Germanic, Teutonic" (1640s), hence its evolution as a 17c. term for the art style that emerged in northern Europe in the Middle Ages, and the early 19c. literary style that used northern European medieval settings to suggest horror and mystery. The word was revived 1983 as the name for a style of music and the associated youth culture; abbreviated form goth is attested from 1986. Gothic revival in reference to architecture and decorating first recorded 1869 in writing of C.L. Eastlake.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

gothic in Culture


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.