[ groh-tesk ]
/ groʊˈtɛsk /


odd or unnatural in shape, appearance, or character; fantastically ugly or absurd; bizarre.
fantastic in the shaping and combination of forms, as in decorative work combining incongruous human and animal figures with scrolls, foliage, etc.


any grotesque object, design, person, or thing.

Origin of grotesque

1555–65; < French < Italian grottesco (as noun, grottesca grotesque decoration such as was apparently found in excavated dwellings), derivative of grotta. See grotto, -esque

Related forms

gro·tesque·ly, adverbgro·tesque·ness, nounun·gro·tesque, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for grotesque

British Dictionary definitions for grotesque


/ (ɡrəʊˈtɛsk) /


strangely or fantastically distorted; bizarrea grotesque reflection in the mirror
of or characteristic of the grotesque in art
absurdly incongruous; in a ludicrous contexta grotesque turn of phrase


Derived Forms

grotesquely, adverbgrotesqueness, noun

Word Origin for grotesque

C16: from French, from Old Italian (pittura) grottesca cave painting, from grottesco of a cave, from grotta cave; see grotto
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