What does zany mean?

Definitions for zany
ˈzeɪ nizany

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word zany.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. zanynoun

    a buffoon in one of the old comedies; imitates others for ludicrous effect

  2. fathead, goof, goofball, bozo, jackass, goose, cuckoo, twat, zanyadjective

    a man who is a stupid incompetent fool

  3. cockamamie, cockamamy, goofy, sappy, silly, wacky, whacky, zanyadjective

    ludicrous, foolish

    "gave me a cockamamie reason for not going"; "wore a goofy hat"; "a silly idea"; "some wacky plan for selling more books"

  4. buffoonish, clownish, clownlike, zanyadjective

    like a clown

    "a buffoonish walk"; "a clownish face"; "a zany sense of humor"


  1. zanyadjective

    Comical in a clownish or buffoonish manner; whimsically comical.


  1. zanynoun

    A fool or clown.

  2. zanyadjective

    ludicrously or incongruously comical

  3. zanyadjective

    bizarre, clownish

  4. Etymology: From zanni (a kind of masked clown character), itself (when capitalized) a dialectal form of Giovanni.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Zanynoun

    One employed to raise laughter by his gestures, actions and speeches; a merry Andrew; a buffoon.

    Etymology: Probably of zanci.] The contraction of Giovanni or sanna, a scoff, according to Stephen Skinner.

    Some carrytale, some pleaseman, some slight zany,
    Some mumblenews, some trencher knight, some Dick,
    Told our intents before. William Shakespeare.

    Then write that I may follow, and so be
    Thy echo, thy debtor, thy foil, thy zany,
    I shall be thought, if mine like thine I shape,
    All the world’s lion, though I be thy ape. John Donne.

    Oh, great restorer of the good old stage,
    Preacher at once, and zany of thy age. Alexander Pope, Dunciad.


  1. zany

    Zany refers to a person who is amusingly unconventional, eccentric, idiosyncratic, or bizarre in behavior, appearance, or style. It can also describe something that is comically absurd or wildly unusual.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Zanynoun

    a merry-andrew; a buffoon

  2. Zanyverb

    to mimic

  3. Etymology: [It. zanni a buffoon, merry-andrew, orig. same as Giovanni John, i. e., merry John, L. Ioannes, Gr. , Heb. Ykhnn, prop., the Lord graciously gave: cf. F. zani, fr. the Italian. Cf. Jenneting.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Zany

    zā′ni, n. a merry-andrew: a buffoon.—v.t. to play the zany to.—n. Zā′nyism, condition or habits of a buffoon. [Fr. zani—It. zani, a corr. of Giovanni, John. Cf. the similar use of the names John and Jack.]

Suggested Resources

  1. ZANY

    What does ZANY stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the ZANY acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

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How to pronounce zany?

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of zany in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of zany in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of zany in a Sentence

  1. Linda Cardellini:

    Yeah, if it’s a great story definitely. Kids love it. I hear some 3 or 4 year old kids who can’t speak in complete sentences and they love to talk about Scooby-Doo. It’s fun. It’s really a great character. There’s not a lot of broad, young and smart, crazy, zany characters that you get to play like this. (Cinema Confidential; March 23, 2004)

  2. Steve Deace:

    He is clearly the man of the hour from a buzz standpoint, i think with one or two exceptions, the goal of the others is to get him to go from zany to crazy, to self-immolate.

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Translations for zany

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • حمقاء, مهرج, أحمقArabic
  • bláznivýCzech
  • durchgeknallt, verrücktGerman
  • disparatado, alocado, chifladoSpanish
  • دیوانهPersian
  • hullunkurinenFinnish
  • loufoqueFrench
  • gealtach, craiceáilteIrish
  • demenzialeItalian
  • לֵיצָןHebrew
  • ellevillNorwegian
  • сумасше́дший, поте́шный, чумово́й, идио́тский, коми́ческий, смешно́й, кло́унский, прико́льный, фигля́рский, заба́вныйRussian
  • அறிவிலிTamil
  • 滑稽的Chinese

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"zany." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 10 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/zany>.

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