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

  • adj. 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.
  • adj. 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.
  • adj. Extravagant, complex, or bizarre, especially in ornamentation: "the baroque, encoded language of post-structural legal and literary theory” ( Wendy Kaminer).
  • adj. Irregular in shape: baroque pearls.
  • n. The baroque style or period in art, architecture, or music.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. 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.
  • adj. Hence, overly complicated, or ornamented to excess; in bad taste; grotesque; odd.
  • adj. Irregular in form; -- said esp. of a pearl.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. An object of irregular and peculiar form, especially in ornamental art.
  • n. Ornament, design, etc., of the style and period called baroque. See I., 2.
  • n. Specifically, in music, a style of composition which abounds in extreme, irregular, or unpleasant harmonies or metrical patterns.

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

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


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

  • 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.


  • 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 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

  • 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

  • (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

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

    Dan Dennett on our consciousness

  • In the work of some critics the idea of the Gothic escaped entirely from its historical moorings so that phenomena we now would term baroque — Italian opera, the architecture of Francesco Borromini, and the complex metaphors of metaphysical poetry — are tarred with the Gothic brush.


  • Once Jenny had to take him by the arm – a scarlet automobile came hooting out of a gate in baroque style, turned with difficulty, and came speeding up the narrow street, where the gutters were full of cabbage leaves and other refuse.

    Jenny: A Novel


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • 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

  • 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

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

    July 19, 2008

  • Not at all. I'd vote for the guy!

    July 19, 2008

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

    July 19, 2008

  • 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