Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A comedy or pantomime in which Harlequin is the main attraction.
  • n. Farcical clowning or buffoonery.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A pantomime-like comedy featuring the harlequin or clown.
  • n. Any comical or fantastical procedure or playfulness.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A play or part of a play in which the harlequin is conspicuous; the part of a harlequin.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A kind of pantomime; that part of a pantomime which follows the transformation of characters, and in which the harlequin and clown play the principal parts; hence, buffoonery; a fantastic procedure.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. acting like a clown or buffoon

Etymologies

Obsolete French, from harlequin, harlequin; see harlequin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French arlequinade. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • But the howling vacuum had opened up inside her again, with its endless vistas of nothingness and no return, the harlequinade of grasping, painted lovers.

    Shortcut Man

  • [1] Sadlers 'Wells, a theatre then dedicated to pantomime, harlequinade and non-verbal theatrical performances.

    Letter 165

  • [2] That is, as drawn on the backdrop at Sadlers 'Wells, a theatre then known for scenic effects because dedicated to pantomime, harlequinade and non-verbal theatrical performances.

    Letter 217

  • And felt a shadow cross the harlequinade the harlequinade of his time.

    'The Pregnant Widow'

  • Their lively, eclectic tastes animated all London theatres, and the legit stage began to appropriate gothic gruesomeness and the exoticism of distant lands from bestsellers; fabulous landscapes transformed, and violence stunted, from harlequinade extravaganzas; extreme emotion, terror and horror, from post-revolutionary Parisian showbiz.

    Projections of puppet theatre

  • At the last minute, the host decides to lighten things up by adding Zerbinetta and her Italian commedia dell'arte troupe to the program, and then, to save time, ordains that the opera and the harlequinade be combined.

    Christmas Gifts From Paris

  • Why! suppose I possessed a theatrical wardrobe, would you venture to argue from that that I am in the frequent habit of wearing the trailing robes of tragedy, the saffron cloak of the mimic dance, or the patchwork suit of the harlequinade?

    The Defense

  • It has been called 'a satirical harlequinade ', a burlesque, and is said to be about the nature of female power and whether such power can be achieved in real life or just exists in romantic fiction.

    Charlotte (Ramsay) Lennox (c.1729-1804)

  • The dull drama of Reform turned into a joyous harlequinade, we had escaped the Fabian.

    G.K.C. - Distributist

  • At the end of the harlequinade he sank down on one knee and kissed her hand.

    The History of Pendennis

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