Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A foolish or ludicrous act; a caper.
  • noun Archaic A buffoon, especially a performing clown.
  • adjective Ludicrously odd; bizarre.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Belonging to former times; ancient; antique.
  • Having existed for a long time; old; aged.
  • Proper to former times; antiquated; old-fashioned.
  • Fantastic, grotesque, odd, strange, or ludicrous, in form, dress, gesture, or posture.
  • noun A man of ancient times; an ancient; in plural, the ancients.
  • noun In art, antic work; a composition consisting of fantastic figures of men, animals, foliage, and flowers incongruously combined or run together; a fantastic, grotesque, or fanciful figure.
  • noun A grotesque, fantastic, odd, strange, or ludicrous gesture or posture; a fantastic trick; a piece of buffoonery; a caper.
  • noun A grotesque pageant; a piece of mummery; a ridiculous interlude; a mask.
  • noun A buffoon; a clown; a merry-andrew.
  • To make antic or grotesque.
  • To perform antics; play tricks; cut capers.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To perform antics.
  • noun A buffoon or merry-andrew; one that practices odd gesticulations; the Fool of the old play.
  • noun An odd imagery, device, or tracery; a fantastic figure.
  • noun A grotesque trick; a piece of buffoonery; a caper.
  • noun (Arch.), obsolete A grotesque representation.
  • noun Obs. or R. An antimask.
  • transitive verb obsolete To make appear like a buffoon.
  • adjective (Zoöl.) Old; antique.
  • adjective Odd; fantastic; fanciful; grotesque; ludicrous.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective architecture, art Grotesque, incongruous.
  • adjective Grotesque, bizarre; absurd.
  • adjective obsolete Alternative form of antique.
  • noun architecture, art, obsolete A grotesque representation of a figure; a gargoyle.
  • noun A caricature.
  • noun often in plural A ludicrous gesture or act; ridiculous behaviour.
  • noun A grotesque performer or clown.
  • noun animation A pose, often exaggerated, in anticipation of an action; for example, a brief squat before jumping
  • verb intransitive To perform antics.
  • verb this sense?) To make a fool of.
  • verb transitive, rare To perform (an action) as an antic; to mimic ridiculously.

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

  • verb act as or like a clown
  • adjective ludicrously odd
  • noun a ludicrous or grotesque act done for fun and amusement

Etymologies

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

[From Italian antico, ancient (used of grotesque designs on some ancient Roman artifacts), from Latin antīquus, former, old; see ant- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Probably from Italian antico ("ancient, fanciful") (used to describe ancient wall paintings from classical times) from Latin antiquus ("venerable"). See also grottesco ("grotesque").

Examples

  • A week without another nutcase Republican antic is like a day without sunshine.

    Sanford says he was in Argentina, not on Appalachian Trail

  • Brun, the Swiss observed, that it was un beau morceau, and Mr. Pallet replied, — “Yes, yes, one may see with half an eye, that it can be the production of no other; for Bomorso’s style both in colouring and drapery, is altogether peculiar: then his design is tame, and his expression antic and unnatural.

    The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle

  • In all those instances, the campaigns adopt an approach that could be described as antic whimsy, offering over-the-top statements that are delivered with a straight face - and tongue planted firmly in cheek.

    NYT > Home Page

  • In all those instances, the campaigns adopt an approach that could be described as antic whimsy, offering over-the-top statements that are delivered with a straight face - and tongue planted firmly in cheek.

    NYT > Home Page

  • I guess I don't know too much about his off-stage "antic" if he had them, but I figure he didn't do all that much entertaining activity that anyone knows about.

    The Messenger Director Oren Moverman to Rewrite and Helm Kurt Cobain Biopic | /Film

  • It's not just her physical similarity to Garland, though her eyes are googly, her teeth are goofy, and when she crosses her hotel bedroom it is with just the right kind of antic scuttle.

    End of the Rainbow; The Invisible Man – reviews

  • That's the kind of antic moment you get out of the best pulp.

    Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine

  • That's the kind of antic moment you get out of the best pulp.

    Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine

  • And they had a great camaraderie and a boyish kind of antic, you know, went on all the time when they were together.

    CNN Transcript Aug 16, 2002

  • In a poem called "A Short Lexicon of Torture in the Eighties," for example, Hirsch strings together the euphemistic names for methods of torture, fashioning a kind of antic dance step, meant to expose the dark side of Reagan-era prosperity.

    NYT > Home Page

Comments

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  • I took a long hard look

    At the heroes of my youth

    And their antics on the page they're on

    Can no longer sustain me

    Ever since I was a boy

    They brought me joy

    But the shackles of the way I was

    Can no longer contain me.

    (I took a long hard look, by Belle and Sebastian)

    February 4, 2009