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

  • adj. Characterized by ludicrous or incongruous distortion, as of appearance or manner.
  • adj. Outlandish or bizarre, as in character or appearance. See Synonyms at fantastic.
  • adj. Of, relating to, or being the grotesque style in art or a work executed in this style.
  • n. One that is grotesque.
  • n. A style of painting, sculpture, and ornamentation in which natural forms and monstrous figures are intertwined in bizarre or fanciful combinations.
  • n. A work of art executed in this style.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. distorted and unnatural in shape or size; abnormal and hideous
  • adj. disgusting or otherwise viscerally reviling.
  • adj. sans serif.
  • n. A style of ornamentation characterized by fanciful combinations of intertwined forms.
  • n. Anything grotesque.
  • n. A sans serif typeface.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Like the figures found in ancient grottoes; grottolike.
  • adj. Wildly or strangely formed; whimsical; extravagant; of irregular forms and proportions; fantastic; ludicrous; antic.
  • n. A whimsical figure, or scene, such as is found in old crypts and grottoes.
  • n. Artificial grotto-work.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Consisting of or resembling artificial grotto-work.
  • Hence Of the fantastic character of such grotto-work and of its decoration; wildly formed; of irregular forms and proportions; ludicrous; antic (which see), as the arabesques of the Renaissance, in which figures human to the waist terminate in scrolls, leafage, and the like, and are associated with animal forms and impossible flowers; hence, in general, whimsical, extravagant, or odd; absurdly bold: often, or more commonly, used in a sense of condemnation or depreciation.
  • Synonyms Fantastic, etc. (see fanciful); whimsical, wild, strange.
  • n. That which is grotesque, as an uncouth or ill-proportioned figure, rude and savage scenery, an inartistic, clownish, or absurd fancy, a clumsy satire, or the like.
  • n. Specifically In art, a capricious figure, work, or ornament; especially, a variety of arabesque which as a whole has no type in nature, being a combination of the parts of animals and plants, and of other incongruous elements.
  • n. In printing, any uncouth form of type; specifically, in Great Britain, the black square-cut display-type called gothic in the United States.

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

  • adj. ludicrously odd
  • adj. distorted and unnatural in shape or size; abnormal and hideous
  • n. art characterized by an incongruous mixture of parts of humans and animals interwoven with plants


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

From French, a fanciful style of decorative art, from Italian grottesca, from feminine of grottesco, of a grotto, from grotta, grotto; see grotto.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle French grotesque (French: grotesque), from Italian grottesco ("of a cave"), from grotta. Compare English grotto.


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