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zany

[zey-nee] /ˈzeɪ ni/
adjective, zanier, zaniest.
1.
ludicrously or whimsically comical; clownish.
noun, plural zanies.
2.
one who plays the clown or fool in order to amuse others.
3.
a comically wild or eccentric person.
4.
a secondary stock character in old comedies who mimicked his master.
5.
a professional buffoon; clown.
6.
a silly person; simpleton.
7.
a slavish attendant or follower.
Origin
1560-1570
1560-70; (< Middle French) < Italian zan(n)i (later zanno) a servant character in the commedia dell’arte, perhaps orig. the character's name, the Upper Italian form of Tuscan Gianni, for Giovanni John
Related forms
zanily, adverb
zaniness, zanyism, noun
zanyish, adjective
Synonyms
3. kook, crazy, lunatic.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for zany
  • His largest and best measured four feet in length, with a headlight-sized mirror and the zany appearance of a ray gun.
  • The soldiers entertained us with zany manoeuvres in their ancient tanks.
  • Whimsical colors and zany style dress up soaring ceilings and tall windows.
  • Boring perhaps, but not given to zany experiments or loud mouthed demagogues.
  • There are certainly times when people here are not in the mood to be zany and wacky, and that's completely fine.
  • The zany pattern has scientists baffled, as they were expecting to see daytime temperatures more akin to an off-center bull's eye.
  • While those around her are busy being zany, she plays it straight, with a deadpan glimmer in the eye.
  • Particle physics has a long history of zany theories that turned out to be true.
  • Her infectious energy and enthusiasm delight listeners as she creates zany casts of characters.
  • Register to participate in this zany, fun, interactive theatre program.
British Dictionary definitions for zany

zany

/ˈzeɪnɪ/
adjective -nier, -niest
1.
comical in an endearing way; imaginatively funny or comical, esp in behaviour
noun (pl) -nies
2.
a clown or buffoon, esp one in old comedies who imitated other performers with ludicrous effect
3.
a ludicrous or foolish person
Derived Forms
zanily, adverb
zaniness, noun
zanyism, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Italian zanni, from dialect (Venice and Lombardy) Zanni, nickname for Giovanni John; one of the traditional names for a clown
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 zany
n.

comic performer, 1580s, from French zani, from Italian zani, zanni "a zany, clown," originally Zanni, Venetian dialect variant of Gianni, pet form of Giovanni "John." A stock character in old comedies, he aped the principal actors.

adj.

1869, from zany (n.). Related: Zanily; zaniness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for zany

zany

adjective

Amusingly or ridiculously strange (1918+)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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16
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