Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Pertaining to or characteristic of clowns or rustics; like a clown; rude; coarse; awkward; ungainly.
  • Abounding in clowns; dull; stupid; uncultured; unrefined: as, “a clownish neighbourhood,”

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

  • adjective Of or resembling a clown, or characteristic of a clown; ungainly; awkward.

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

  • adjective Pertaining to peasants; rustic.
  • adjective Uncultured, boorish; rough, coarse.
  • adjective Like a circus clown; comical, ridiculous.

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

  • adjective like a clown

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From clown +‎ -ish.

Examples

  • but since the "literature" of the hack is so perverse and disturbing in its "message," the term clownish is too light and good natured to be appropriate.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • Calling you clownish is called "descending to your opponent's level".

    Carry-Over Thread

  • November 13th, 2007 at 4: 49 pm stunney: Calling you clownish is called "descending to your opponent's level".

    Carry-Over Thread

  • His demeanour was so blunt as sometimes might be termed clownish, yet there was in his language and manner a force and energy corresponding to his character, which impressed awe, if it did not impose respect; and there were even times when that dark and subtle spirit expanded itself, so as almost to conciliate affection.

    Woodstock

  • An ailing mobster in a wheelchair and using an oxygen tank was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in prison for what a judge called a "clownish" murder-for-hire plot that was never carried out.

    KansasCity.com: Front Page

  • An ailing mobster in a wheelchair and using an oxygen tank was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in prison for what a judge called a "clownish" murder-for-hire plot that was never carried out.

    KansasCity.com: Front Page

  • His demeanour was so blunt as sometimes might be termed clownish, yet there was in his language and manner a force and energy corresponding to his character, which impressed awe, if it did not impose respect; and there were even times when that dark and subtle spirit expanded itself, so as almost to conciliate affection.

    Woodstock; or, the Cavalier

  • Criticism as "grunt work" -- laboring on behalf of works of literature because they deserve intelligent analysis -- seems to me a perfectly respectable undertaking, especially when it's paired against the kind of clownish performances Anderson tries to defend.

    Book Reviewing

  • Big, white suit jacket with black pinstripes, baggy black pants with white pinstripes -- kind of clownish, but looking heavier and healthier than in his Sex Pistols days.

    Hey isn't that...?: Johnny Rotten

  • Its leader, the artist formerly known as Paris Lewis who now goes by the amusingly generic hyper-African moniker "Dr. Malik Zulu Shabazz," is the kind of clownish caricature Fox News loves to trot out at regular intervals.

    Chez Pazienza: Fox and the Hounding

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