un grotesque


odd or unnatural in shape, appearance, or character; fantastically ugly or absurd; bizarre.
fantastic in the shaping and combination of forms, as in decorative work combining incongruous human and animal figures with scrolls, foliage, etc.
any grotesque object, design, person, or thing.

1555–65; < French < Italian grottesco (as noun, grottesca grotesque decoration such as was apparently found in excavated dwellings), derivative of grotta. See grotto, -esque

grotesquely, adverb
grotesqueness, noun
ungrotesque, adjective

1. distorted, deformed, weird, antic, wild. See fantastic.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
grotesque (ɡrəʊˈtɛsk)
1.  strangely or fantastically distorted; bizarre: a grotesque reflection in the mirror
2.  of or characteristic of the grotesque in art
3.  absurdly incongruous; in a ludicrous context: a grotesque turn of phrase
4.  a 16th-century decorative style in which parts of human, animal, and plant forms are distorted and mixed
5.  a decorative device, as in painting or sculpture, in this style
6.  printing the family of 19th-century sans serif display types
7.  any grotesque person or thing
[C16: from French, from Old Italian (pittura) grottesca cave painting, from grottesco of a cave, from grotta cave; see grotto]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1561, originally a noun, from M.Fr. crotesque, from It. grottesco, lit. "of a cave," from grotta (see grotto). Used first of paintings found on the walls of basements of Roman ruins (It. pittura grottesca). Originally "fanciful, fantastic," sense became pejorative after mid-18c.
Grotty, slang shortening, had a brief vogue 1964 as part of Liverpool argot popularized by The Beatles in "A Hard Day's Night."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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