- (often initial capital letter) a comic character in commedia dell'arte and the harlequinade, usually masked, dressed in multicolored, diamond-patterned tights, and carrying a wooden sword or magic wand.
- a buffoon.
- any of various small snakes having bright diamond-pattern scales.
- fancifully varied in color, decoration, etc.: harlequin pants.
- resembling a harlequin's mask: harlequin glasses.
Origin of harlequin
Examples from the Web for harlequin
The Harlequin hardback, out today, is appropriately dubbed: Sh*t Girls Say.‘Shit Girls Say’: Kyle Humphrey and Graydon Sheppard Spin Book From Meme
September 18, 2012
Another way that Harlequin is adapting is through the same technology that has enabled self-publishing.
To call the Canadian publisher Harlequin a monopoly in the romance genre might be an overstatement, but not by much.
Harlequin may have one of the most powerful, immediately recognizable brands in the world, but they are working hard to dilute it.
We will frankly own that we have been much troubled with the harlequin.The Mudfog and Other Sketches
She could not but laugh a little at Harlequin's undisguised discomfiture.Nobody
Louis Joseph Vance
The harlequin on the bank turned his little pug-nose up to me.Heart of Darkness
Wise is a harlequin; we let him dance because he is good at it, and it amuses us.Among the Pines
James R. Gilmore
His dress was something between that of Harlequin and Scaramouch.The Infernal Marriage
- (sometimes capital) theatre a stock comic character originating in the commedia dell'arte; the foppish lover of Columbine in the English harlequinade. He is usually represented in diamond-patterned multicoloured tights, wearing a black mask
- a clown or buffoon
- varied in colour or decoration
- (of certain animals) having a white coat with irregular patches of black or other dark colourharlequin Great Dane
- comic; ludicrous
Word Origin and History for harlequin
1580s, from Middle French harlequin, from Old French Herlequin, Hellequin, etc., leader of la maisnie Hellequin, a troop of demons who rode the night air on horses. He corresponds to Old English Herla cyning "King Herla," mythical character sometimes identified as Woden; possibly also the same as the German Erlkönig "Elf King" of the Goethe poem. Sometimes also associated with Herrequin, 9c. count of Boulogne, who was proverbially wicked. In English pantomime, a mute character who carries a magic wand. His Italian form, arlecchino, is one of the stock characters of commedia del'arte. From his ludicrous dress comes the English adjective meaning "particolored" (1779).