Origin of comic

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin cōmicus < Greek kōmikós, equivalent to kôm(os) a revel + -ikos -ic
Related formsnon·com·ic, adjective, nounqua·si-com·ic, adjectivesem·i·com·ic, adjectiveun·com·ic, adjective
Can be confusedcomedic comic comical Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for semi-comic

Historical Examples of semi-comic

  • "I'm a trifle that way inclined, ma'm," he replied, with a semi-comic expression.

    The Bunsby papers

    John Brougham

  • Now began one of these semi-comic, semi-serious adventures which seem to dog my footsteps.

  • Already you have a semi-comic "gold-cure" for alcoholism, and you have heard of the geophagism of certain African tribes.

    Prince Zaleski

    M.P. Shiel

  • The City Madam is an extraordinarily spirited picture of actual life, idealized into a semi-comic strain of poetry.

  • And this apparent preparation for a semi-comic, semi-pitiful benediction sent his hands suddenly to his knees.

British Dictionary definitions for semi-comic



of, relating to, characterized by, or characteristic of comedy
(prenominal) acting in, writing, or composing comedya comic writer
humorous; funny


a person who is comic, esp a comic actor; comedian
a book or magazine containing comic strips
(usually plural) mainly US and Canadian comic strips in newspapers, etc

Word Origin for comic

C16: from Latin cōmicus, from Greek kōmikos relating to comedy
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 semi-comic



late 14c., "of comedy in the dramatic sense," from Latin comicus "of comedy, represented in comedy, in comic style," from Greek komikos "of or pertaining to comedy," from komos (see comedy). Meaning "intentionally funny" first recorded 1791, and comedic (1630s) has since picked up the older sense of the word.

Speaking of the masters of the comedic spirit (if I call it, as he does, the Comic Spirit, this darkened generation will suppose me to refer to the animal spirits of tomfools and merryandrews) .... [G.B. Shaw, 1897]

Something that is comic has comedy as its aim or origin; something is comical if the effect is comedy, whether intended or not.



"a comedian" is from 1580s, from comic (adj.). Latin adjective comicus also meant "a comic poet, writer of comedies." Meaning "a comic book or comic strip" is from 1889 (Comic strip first attested 1920; comic book is from 1941). Comic relief is attested from 1825.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper