Definitions for harlequinˈhɑr lə kwɪn, -kɪn
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
har•le•quinˈhɑr lə kwɪn, -kɪn(n.)
(often cap.) a comic character in commedia dell'arte and the harlequinade, usu. masked, dressed in multicolored, diamond-patterned tights, and carrying a wooden sword or magic wand.
Category: Showbiz, Literature
Origin of harlequin:
1580–90; < F, MF (h)arlequin < It arlecchino < OF *harlequin, halequin a malevolent spirit, prob. < ME *Herla king, OE *Her(e)la cyning King Herle, presumably a legendary figure, rendered in AL as Herla rex
a clown or buffoon (after the Harlequin character in the commedia dell'arte)
variegate with spots or marks
"His face was harlequined with patches"
a pantomime fool, typically dressed in checkered clothes
brightly coloured, especially in a pattern like that of a harlequin clown's clothes
Origin: From hellekijn, then in hellequin and in Arlecchino, the name of a popular servant character in commedia dell'arte plays from * ultimately from Herleking, from Herla Cyning, a mythical figure identified with Woden.
a buffoon, dressed in party-colored clothes, who plays tricks, often without speaking, to divert the bystanders or an audience; a merry-andrew; originally, a droll rogue of Italian comedy
to play the droll; to make sport by playing ludicrous tricks
toremove or conjure away, as by a harlequin's trick
The Nuttall Encyclopedia
a character in a Christmas pantomime, in love with Columbine, presumed to be invisible, and deft at tricks to frustrate those of the clown, who is his rival lover.