[ zey-nee ]
See synonyms for: zanyzaniness on

adjective,za·ni·er, za·ni·est.
  1. ludicrously or whimsically comical; clownish.

noun,plural za·nies.
  1. one who plays the clown or fool in order to amuse others.

  2. a comically wild or eccentric person.

  1. a secondary stock character in old comedies who mimicked his master.

  2. a professional buffoon; clown.

  3. a silly person; simpleton.

  4. a slavish attendant or follower.

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 for zany

Other words from zany

  • za·ni·ly, adverb
  • za·ni·ness, za·ny·ism, noun
  • za·ny·ish, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use zany in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for zany


/ (ˈzeɪnɪ) /

adjective-nier or -niest
  1. comical in an endearing way; imaginatively funny or comical, esp in behaviour

nounplural -nies
  1. a clown or buffoon, esp one in old comedies who imitated other performers with ludicrous effect

  2. a ludicrous or foolish person

Origin of zany

C16: from Italian zanni, from dialect (Venice and Lombardy) Zanni, nickname for Giovanni John; one of the traditional names for a clown

Derived forms of zany

  • zanily, adverb
  • zaniness, noun
  • zanyism, noun

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