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

  • n. A buffoon or jester who entertains by jokes, antics, and tricks in a circus, play, or other presentation.
  • n. One who jokes and plays tricks.
  • n. A coarse, rude, vulgar person; a boor.
  • n. A peasant; a rustic.
  • intransitive v. To behave like a buffoon or jester.
  • intransitive v. To perform as a buffoon or jester.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A performance artist often associated with a circus and typically characterised by bright, oversized clothing, a red nose, face paint, and a brightly colored wig and who performs slapstick.
  • n. A person who acts in a silly fashion.
  • v. To act in a silly fashion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A man of coarse nature and manners; an awkward fellow; an ill-bred person; a boor.
  • n. One who works upon the soil; a rustic; a churl.
  • n. The fool or buffoon in a play, circus, etc.
  • intransitive v. To act as a clown; -- with it.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To act or behave as a clown; play the clown.
  • n. A man of rustic or coarse manners; a person without refinement; a lout; a boor; a churl.
  • n. A husbandman; a peasant; a rustic.
  • n. A professional or habitual jester; a merryman or buffoon, as in a pantomime, circus, or other place of entertainment, and formerly in the households of the great.
  • n. Synonyms See jester and zany.

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

  • v. act as or like a clown
  • n. a person who amuses others by ridiculous behavior
  • n. a rude or vulgar fool


Of Scandinavian origin (akin to Icelandic klunni, clumsy person) or of Low German origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Likely from North Germanic, akin to Icelandic klunni ("klutz") and Frisian klönne ("klutz"). (Wiktionary)



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  • “There is nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight.�?
    –– Lon Chaney, Sr.

    October 2, 2007

  • Clowns are disturbing.

    December 14, 2006