[ zey-nee ]
/ ˈzeɪ ni /
adjective, za·ni·er, za·ni·est.
ludicrously or whimsically comical; clownish.
noun, plural za·nies.
one who plays the clown or fool in order to amuse others.
a comically wild or eccentric person.
a secondary stock character in old comedies who mimicked his master.
a professional buffoon; clown.
a silly person; simpleton.
a slavish attendant or follower.
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Origin of zany
1560–70; (<Middle French ) <Italian zan(n)i (later zanno) a servant character in the commedia dell’arte, perhaps originally the character's name, the Upper Italian form of Tuscan Gianni, for Giovanni John
OTHER WORDS FROM zanyza·ni·ly, adverbza·ni·ness, za·ny·ism, nounza·ny·ish, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021
Example sentences from the Web for zany
Gingrich Restrains His Zaniness Newt confesses that he's been editing his words in an effort not to appear to be "zany."
But whatever her professions of zaniness, lately Barrymore has seemed awfully grown up.
British Dictionary definitions for zany
/ (ˈzeɪnɪ) /
adjective -nier or -niest
comical in an endearing way; imaginatively funny or comical, esp in behaviour
noun plural -nies
a clown or buffoon, esp one in old comedies who imitated other performers with ludicrous effect
a ludicrous or foolish person
Derived forms of zanyzanily, adverbzaniness, nounzanyism, noun
Word Origin for zany
C16: from Italian zanni, from dialect (Venice and Lombardy) Zanni, nickname for Giovanni John; one of the traditional names for a clown
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