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

  • adjective Of, relating to, or characteristic of a style in art and architecture developed in Europe from the early 17th to mid-18th century, emphasizing dramatic, often strained effect and typified by bold, curving forms, elaborate ornamentation, and overall balance of disparate parts.
  • adjective Music Of, relating to, or characteristic of a style of composition that flourished in Europe from about 1600 to 1750, marked by expressive dissonance and elaborate ornamentation.
  • adjective Extravagant, complex, or bizarre, especially in ornamentation.
  • adjective Irregular in shape.
  • noun The baroque style or period in art, architecture, or music.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Specifically, in music, a style of composition which abounds in extreme, irregular, or unpleasant harmonies or metrical patterns.
  • Odd; bizarre; corrupt and fantastic in style.
  • Specifically, in architecture, applied to a style of decoration which prevailed in Europe during a great part of the eighteenth century, and may be considered to have begun toward the close of the seventeenth century.
  • Sometimes written baroco, barocco, barock.
  • noun An object of irregular and peculiar form, especially in ornamental art.
  • noun Ornament, design, etc., of the style and period called baroque. See I., 2.

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

  • adjective (Arch.) of, pertaining to, or characteristic of, an artistic style common in the 17th century, characterized by the use of complex and elaborate ornamentation, curved rather than straight lines, and, in music a high degree of embellishment.
  • adjective Hence, overly complicated, or ornamented to excess; in bad taste; grotesque; odd.
  • adjective Irregular in form; -- said esp. of a pearl.

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

  • adjective ornate, intricate, decorated, laden with detail.
  • adjective complex and beautiful, despite an outward irregularity.
  • adjective chiseled from stone, or shaped from wood, in a garish, crooked, twisted, or slanted sort of way, grotesque.
  • adjective embellished with figures and forms such that every level of relief gives way to more details and contrasts.

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

  • noun the historic period from about 1600 until 1750 when the baroque style of art, architecture, and music flourished in Europe
  • noun elaborate and extensive ornamentation in decorative art and architecture that flourished in Europe in the 17th century
  • adjective of or relating to or characteristic of the elaborately ornamented style of architecture, art, and music popular in Europe between 1600 and 1750
  • adjective having elaborate symmetrical ornamentation


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

[French, from Italian barocco, imperfect pearl, and from Portuguese barroco.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French baroque (originally designating a pearl of irregular shape), from either Portuguese barroco, Spanish barroco or Italian barocco, of unknown ultimate origin.


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  • The word "baroque" comes from the Italian word "barocco" which means bizarre. Music Education 2009

  • In 1934 F.W. Bateson published his little book, English Poetry and the English Language (Oxford [1934], pp. 76-77), where he applied the term baroque even to Thomson,


  • The term baroque seems, however, most acceptable if we have in mind a general European movement whose conven - tions and literary style can be described concretely and whose chronological limits can be fixed narrowly, as from the last decades of the sixteenth century to the middle of the eighteenth century in a few countries.


  • Since then the term baroque occurs in English scholarship more frequently.


  • The costumes I did see were quite fun, from women in baroque dresses (complete with ship on the hair) to steampunk farmers and the Joker.

    Orycon 31 Wrap-Up « Colleen Anderson 2009

  • After lunch, Charlie Stross discussed his interest in baroque technology – especially the US and Soviet attempts at wiping each other out – and the publishing industry.

    Yatterings » Small con – BIG ideas: thoughts from PicoCon 2007

  • (Your point about the Italian baroque is spot on — although being my perverse self, I listen to Vivaldi and Scarlatti hanging on for the proto-Expressionist moments.)

    The Long Goodbye Matthew Guerrieri 2007

  • That reminds him of the word baroque, barrack, bark, poodle, Suzanne R. -- he's off to the races.

    Dan Dennett on our consciousness 2003

  • That reminds him of the word baroque, barrack, bark, poodle, Suzanne R. -- he's off to the races.

    Dan Dennett on our consciousness 2003

  • That reminds him of the word baroque, barrack, bark, poodle, Suzanne R. -- he's off to the races.

    Dan Dennett on our consciousness 2003


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  • On my list of funnies solely because I can't think of it or say it without being reminded of David Ogden Stiers as Cogsworth, making the "If it ain't baroque, don't fix it" joke in Beauty and the Beast with his awesome line delivery and pronunciation. Hee.

    March 11, 2008

  • I like Baroque. Does that make me a bad person?

    July 19, 2008

  • Not at all. I'd vote for the guy!

    July 19, 2008

  • No, bookhling, not on its own. But baroque'n'roll might.

    July 19, 2008

  • The musical (also art and architecture) period following the Renaissance from roughly 1600 to 1750; Extravagantly ornate, florid, and convoluted in character or style; Irregular in shape (esp. something so ornate as to be in bad taste).

    December 24, 2008

  • WORD baroque

    The Joe Sixpack DEFINITION, dumbed down for the rest of us: Baroque " kinda means 'too much.' " -- Larry McMurtry.
    EXAMPLE: ' Baroque, Duane--Baroque," Karla said. It always pleased her to learn a complicated new word that one else in Thalia knew the meaning of.
    ' "I heard you. What does it mean?" he asked.
    ' "Well it kinda means 'too much,' you know?" Karla said, thinking that was probably the simplest way to explain it to someone like Duane, who had never given ten seconds' thought to art of any kind, unless it was just pictures of cowboys loping around in the snow or something.
    ' "Okay, too much," Duane said. 'Too much' is like our family, he said. "Would it be fair to say our family is Baroque?"
    ' "Duane, of course not, our family is perfectly normal," Karla said. "They might have a few too many hormones or something but otherwise they're perfectly normal."
    ' "Nope, if 'Baroque' really means 'too much,' then our family is Baroque and I'm leaving," he informed her. '
    ---1999. Larry McMurtry. Duane's Depressed. Book One: The Walker and His Family. Chapter 2. (Pages 16 - 17).

    December 31, 2013