What does grotesque mean?

Definitions for grotesque

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word grotesque.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. grotesque(adj)

    art characterized by an incongruous mixture of parts of humans and animals interwoven with plants

  2. grotesque, monstrous(adj)

    distorted and unnatural in shape or size; abnormal and hideous

    "tales of grotesque serpents eight fathoms long that churned the seas"; "twisted into monstrous shapes"

  3. antic, fantastic, fantastical, grotesque(adj)

    ludicrously odd

    "Hamlet's assumed antic disposition"; "fantastic Halloween costumes"; "a grotesque reflection in the mirror"


  1. grotesque(Noun)

    A style of ornamentation characterized by fanciful combinations of intertwined forms.

  2. grotesque(Noun)

    Anything grotesque.

  3. grotesque(Noun)

    A sans serif typeface.

  4. grotesque(Adjective)

    distorted and unnatural in shape or size; abnormal and hideous

  5. grotesque(Adjective)

    disgusting or otherwise viscerally reviling.

  6. grotesque(Adjective)

    sans serif.

  7. Origin: grotesque (French: grotesque), from grottesco, from grotta. Compare English grotto.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Grotesque(noun)

    a whimsical figure, or scene, such as is found in old crypts and grottoes

  2. Grotesque(noun)

    artificial grotto-work

  3. Origin: [F., fr. It. grottesco, fr. grotta grotto. See Grotto.]


  1. Grotesque

    The word grotesque comes from the same Latin root as "grotto", which originated from Greek krypte "hidden place", meaning a small cave or hollow. The original meaning was restricted to an extravagant style of Ancient Roman decorative art rediscovered and then copied in Rome at the end of the 15th century. The "caves" were in fact rooms and corridors of the Domus Aurea, the unfinished palace complex started by Nero after the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64, which had become overgrown and buried, until they were broken into again, mostly from above. Spreading from Italian to the other European languages, the term was long used largely interchangeably with arabesque and moresque for types of decorative patterns using curving foliage elements. Since at least the 18th century, grotesque has come to be used as a general adjective for the strange, fantastic, ugly, incongruous, unpleasant, or disgusting, and thus is often used to describe weird shapes and distorted forms such as Halloween masks. In art, performance, and literature, grotesque, however, may also refer to something that simultaneously invokes in an audience a feeling of uncomfortable bizarreness as well as empathic pity. More specifically, the grotesque forms on Gothic buildings, when not used as drain-spouts, should not be called gargoyles, but rather referred to simply as grotesques, or chimeras.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Grotesque

    grō-tesk′, adj. extravagantly formed: ludicrous.—n. (art) extravagant ornament, containing animals, plants, &c. not really existing.—adv. Grotesque′ly.—ns. Grotesque′ness; Grotesqu′ery. [Fr. grotesque—It. grotescagrotta, a grotto.]

How to pronounce grotesque?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say grotesque in sign language?

  1. grotesque


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of grotesque in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of grotesque in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of grotesque in a Sentence

  1. Jeffrey Toobin:

    It's a grotesque abuse of power by the President of the United States.

  2. Zalmay Khalilzad:

    The attack on Amrullah Saleh's political party offices was grotesque and a clear act of terrorism.

  3. Trump Jr.:

    I hope every elected Democrat in the country has the common decency and moral courage to disavow these types of grotesque statements from members of their party.

  4. Elijah Cummings:

    The Trump administration's actions at the southern border are grotesque and dehumanizing, there seems to be open contempt for the rule of law and for basic human decency.

  5. Gerald Scarfe:

    I do have a weird vision of the world, ever since I started I was told, 'You're Hieronymus Bosch, your drawings are grotesque.' But of course, they don't seem like that to me.

Images & Illustrations of grotesque

  1. grotesquegrotesquegrotesquegrotesquegrotesque

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Translations for grotesque

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"grotesque." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 18 Sep. 2019. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/grotesque>.

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