Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma


[kom-i-dee] /ˈkɒm ɪ di/
noun, plural comedies.
a play, movie, etc., of light and humorous character with a happy or cheerful ending; a dramatic work in which the central motif is the triumph over adverse circumstance, resulting in a successful or happy conclusion.
that branch of the drama which concerns itself with this form of composition.
the comic element of drama, of literature generally, or of life.
any literary composition dealing with a theme suitable for comedy, or employing the methods of comedy.
any comic or humorous incident or series of incidents.
1350-1400; Middle English comedye < Medieval Latin cōmēdia, Latin cōmoedia < Greek kōmōidía, equivalent to kōmōid(ós) comedian (kômo(s) merry-making + aoidós singer) + -ia -y3
Related forms
[kuh-mee-dee-uh l] /kəˈmi di əl/ (Show IPA),
procomedy, adjective
5. jesting, humor, pleasantry, banter. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for come dial


noun (pl) -dies
a dramatic or other work of light and amusing character
the genre of drama represented by works of this type
(in classical literature) a play in which the main characters and motive triumph over adversity
the humorous aspect of life or of events
an amusing event or sequence of events
humour or comic style the comedy of Chaplin
Word Origin
C14: from Old French comédie, from Latin cōmoedia, from Greek kōmōidia, from kōmos village festival + aeidein to sing
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 come dial
late 14c., from O.Fr. comedie, from L. comoedia, from Gk. komoidia "a comedy, amusing spectacle," from komodios "singer in the revels," from komos "revel, carousal" + oidos "singer, poet," from aeidein "to sing." The classical sense is similar to the modern one, but in the Middle Ages the word came to mean poems and stories generally (albeit ones with happy endings), and the earliest Eng. sense is "narrative poem" (cf. Dante's "Commedia"). Comedy aims at entertaining by the fidelity with which it presents life as we know it; farce at raising laughter by the outrageous absurdity of the situation or characters exhibited; extravaganza at diverting by its fantastic nature; burlesque at tickling the fancy of the audience by caricaturing plays or actors with whose style it is familiar. Generalized sense of "quality of being amusing" dates from 1877.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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come dial in Culture

comedy definition

A work — play, story, novel, or film — that ends happily for the main character (or protagonist) and contains humor to some degree. A comedy may involve unhappy outcomes for some of the characters. Shylock, for example, in The Merchant of Venice, a comedy by William Shakespeare, is disgraced in the play. The ancient Greeks and Romans produced comedies, and great numbers have been written in modern times.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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