(often initial capital letter) a comic character in commedia dell'arte and the harlequinade, usually masked, dressed in multicolored, diamond-patterned tights, and carrying a wooden sword or magic wand.
any of various small snakes having bright diamond-pattern scales.
1580-90; < French,Middle French (h)arlequin, semantically (and in part phonetically) < Italianarlecchino < Middle French, phonetically continuing Old French*harlequin, halequin a malevolent spirit (Compare mesniee Hellequin a troop of demonic horsemen, literally, Hellequin's escort), probably < Middle English*Herla king,Old English*Her(e)la cyning King Herle, presumably a legendary figure, rendered in AL as Herla rex; compare Old High GermanHerilo a personal name, derivative of heri armed forces
From the underside of a leaf, tiny harlequin cabbage bugs hatch from their hinged egg cases.
As a harlequin bumblingly juggles, he is cloned by two cinematic images of himself, juggling without a miss.
Those toads that do not share these traits, such as the harlequin, are not doing as well.
British Dictionary definitions for harlequin
(sometimes capital) (theatre) a stock comic character originating in the commedia dell'arte; the foppish lover of Columbine in the English harlequinade. He is usually represented in diamond-patterned multicoloured tights, wearing a black mask
a clown or buffoon
varied in colour or decoration
(of certain animals) having a white coat with irregular patches of black or other dark colour harlequin Great Dane
C16: from Old French Herlequin, Hellequin leader of band of demon horsemen, perhaps from Middle English Herle king (unattested) King Herle, mythical being identified with Woden
1590, from M.Fr. harlequin, from O.Fr. Herlequin, Hellequin, etc., leader of la maisnie Hellequin, a troop of demons who rode the night air on horses. He corresponds to O.E. Herla cyning "King Herla," mythical character sometimes identified as Woden; possibly also the same as the Ger. Erlkönig "Elf King" of the Goethe poem. Sometimes also associated with Herrequin, 9c. count of Boulogne, who was proverbially wicked. In Eng. pantomime, a mute character who carries a magic wand. His It. form, arlecchino, is one of the stock characters of commedia del'arte. From his ludicrous dress comes the Eng. meaning "particolored" (1779).