- gruesome and horrifying; ghastly; horrible.
- of, pertaining to, dealing with, or representing death, especially its grimmer or uglier aspect.
- of or suggestive of the allegorical dance of death.
Origin of macabre
Examples from the Web for macaber
Historical Examples of macaber
Again,—As to the connexion between the word Macaber with the Dance itself.
They have probably belonged to a Macaber Dance in the windows of some church.
The figures at bottom indicate its having been part of a Macaber Dance.
In its construction there is a striking resemblance to the common metrical stanzas that accompany the Macaber Dance.
But it was not only in the above volumes that the very popular subject of the Macaber Dance was particularly exhibited.
- gruesome; ghastly; grim
- resembling or associated with the danse macabre
Word Origin for macabre
Word Origin and History for macaber
early 15c., from Old French (danse) Macabré "(dance) of Death" (1376), probably a translation of Medieval Latin (Chorea) Machabæorum, literally "dance of the Maccabees" (leaders of the Jewish revolt against Syro-Hellenes; see Maccabees). The association with the dance of death seems to be via vivid descriptions of the martyrdom of the Maccabees in the Apocryphal books. The abstracted sense of "gruesome" is first attested 1842 in French, 1889 in English.
The typical form which the allegory takes is that of a series of pictures, sculptured or painted, in which Death appears, either as a dancing skeleton or as a shrunken corpse wrapped in grave-clothes to persons representing every age and condition of life, and leads them all in a dance to the grave. ["Encyclopaedia Britannica," 11th ed., 1911]