8 Wintry Words to Defrost Your Vocabulary
1765, from French baroque (15c.) "irregular," from Portuguese barroco "imperfect pearl," of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Spanish berruca "a wart."
This style in decorations got the epithet of Barroque taste, derived from a word signifying pearls and teeth of unequal size. [Fuseli's translation of Winkelmann, 1765]Klein suggests the name may be from Italian painter Federigo Barocci (1528-1612), a founder of the style. How to tell baroque from rococo, according to Fowler: "The characteristics of baroque are grandeur, pomposity, and weight; those of rococo are inconsequence, grace, and lightness." But the two terms often used without distinction for styles featuring odd and excessive ornamentation.