1. Characterized by ludicrous, repulsive, or incongruous distortion, as of appearance or manner. See Synonyms at ugly.
2. Outlandish or bizarre, as in character or appearance. See Synonyms at fantastic.
3. Of, relating to, or being the grotesque style in art or a work executed in this style.
1. One that is grotesque.
a. A style of painting, sculpture, and ornamentation in which natural forms and monstrous figures are intertwined in bizarre or fanciful combinations.
b. A work of art executed in this style.
[From French, a fanciful style of decorative art, from Italian grottesca, from feminine of grottesco, of a grotto, from grotta, grotto; see GROTTO.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.