grotesque

[ groh-tesk ]
/ groʊˈtɛsk /

adjective

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.

noun

any grotesque object, design, person, or thing.

Nearby words

  1. grosz, george,
  2. groszy,
  3. grot,
  4. grote,
  5. grotesk,
  6. grotesquery,
  7. grotian,
  8. grotius,
  9. grotius, hugo,
  10. groton

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 formsgro·tesque·ly, adverbgro·tesque·ness, nounun·gro·tesque, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for grotesque


British Dictionary definitions for grotesque

grotesque

/ (ɡrəʊˈtɛsk) /

adjective

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

noun

Derived Formsgrotesquely, 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

Word Origin and History for grotesque

grotesque

adj.

c.1600s, originally a noun (1560s), from Middle French crotesque (16c., Modern French grotesque), from Italian grottesco, literally "of a cave," from grotta (see grotto). The usual explanation is that the word first was used of paintings found on the walls of basements of Roman ruins (Italian pittura grottesca), which OED finds "intrinsically plausible." Originally "fanciful, fantastic," sense became pejorative after mid-18c. Related: Grotesquely; grotesqueness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper