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[an-tik] /ˈæn tɪk/
Usually, antics.
  1. a playful trick or prank; caper.
  2. a grotesque, fantastic, or ludicrous gesture, act, or posture.
  1. an actor in a grotesque or ridiculous presentation.
  2. a buffoon; clown.
  1. a grotesque theatrical presentation; ridiculous interlude.
  2. a grotesque or fantastic sculptured figure, as a gargoyle.
ludicrous; funny.
fantastic; odd; grotesque:
an antic disposition.
verb (used without object), anticked, anticking.
Obsolete. to perform antics; caper.
Origin of antic
1520-30; earlier antike, antique < Italian antico ancient (< Latin antīcus, antīquus; see antique), apparently taken to mean “grotesque,” as used in descriptions of fantastic figures found in Roman ruins
Related forms
antically, adverb
Can be confused
antic, antique. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for antic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But the moment after, some wild whim would make her resume her antic movements; and all went worse than before.

    Undine Friedrich de la Motte Fouque
  • I spoke to her, and she complained about the antic behaviour of the land.

  • There is the rich poetry of Paderewski, the antic grace and delicious poetry of De Pachmann.

    Franz Liszt James Huneker
  • "I'm paid for my body, not for my voice; so let my body play the antic," she muttered, angrily.

    Sylvia & Michael Compton Mackenzie
  • What is done to Lordsburg we can stand, but a blow at our own warbags, even in antic'pation, is calc'lated to cause us to perk up.

    Faro Nell and Her Friends Alfred Henry Lewis
  • The situation seemed, in antic irony, to be reversing itself.

    Satan Sanderson Hallie Erminie Rives
  • While this last movement was executing, one of them advanced, and performed an antic dance before me; with which the whole ended.

British Dictionary definitions for antic


(archaic) an actor in a ludicrous or grotesque part; clown; buffoon
(archaic) fantastic; grotesque
See also antics
Word Origin
C16: from Italian antico something ancient, or grotesque (from its application to fantastic carvings found in ruins of ancient Rome); see antique
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for antic

1520s, "grotesque or comical gesture," from Italian antico "antique," from Latin antiquus "old" (see antique). Originally (like grotesque) a 16c. Italian word referring to the strange and fantastic representations on ancient murals unearthed around Rome (especially originally the Baths of Titus, rediscovered 16c.); later extended to "any bizarre thing or behavior," in which sense it first arrived in English. As an adjective in English from 1580s, "grotesque, bizarre."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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