Definition of classical in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈklasək(ə)l/


1Relating to ancient Greek or Latin literature, art, or culture: classical mythology
More example sentences
  • He teaches Greek and Latin at all levels, along with courses in classical mythology and Greek literature and culture.
  • However, there were other Church Fathers who defended the value of studying classical literature and philosophy.
  • But the balance in the secondary schools of Europe was overwhelmingly in favour of classical culture.
ancient Greek, Hellenic, Attic;
Latin, ancient Roman
1.1(Of art or architecture) influenced by ancient Greek or Roman forms or principles.
Example sentences
  • An educational program was set up, and promising youth were sent on government-sponsored tours of Europe to learn about classical art and architecture.
  • Here, his great palace imitated and even incorporated examples of late classical art and architecture.
  • I'd been traveling across Greece and Turkey with a small group of college students, studying Byzantine and classical art and architecture.
simple, pure, restrained, plain, austere;
well proportioned, harmonious, balanced, symmetrical, elegant
2(Typically of a form of art) regarded as representing an exemplary standard; traditional and long-established in form or style: a classical ballet
More example sentences
  • This piece is also the furthest from the traditional style of classical ballet and offers a good reflection of the state of contemporary ballet.
  • But one thing is clear: The mood is frivolous, with most designers steering clear of traditional and classical styles and opting instead for adventure.
  • It is within such a classical critical tradition of a crisis of ideology that the declining confrontations of labor and capital has brought more radical consequences.
traditional, long-established;
serious, highbrow
3Relating to the first significant period of an area of study: classical mechanics
More example sentences
  • Within the field of religion or area studies, there is a difference between emphases in the classical or modern period.
  • Did you feel like you were coming in at the last moment of the classical Hollywood period?
  • As was common throughout the classical period of Indian mathematics, members of the family acted as teachers to other family members.
3.1 Physics Relating to or based upon concepts and theories that preceded the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics; Newtonian: classical physics
More example sentences
  • The second term you may recognize to be the kinetic energy of classical Newtonian physics.
  • Like all his contemporaries, Hawking was brought up, as a scientist, on the classical ideas of Newton and on relativity theory and quantum physics in their original forms.
  • Newton's Law of Gravitation was the beginning of classical field theory.


See classic (usage).



Pronunciation: /-ˌlizəm/
Example sentences
  • Our oil paintings have different styles such as classicalism, impressionism and realism.
  • At the beginning of the 19th century, for example, the ‘newer’ paradigm of positivism emerged to challenge the ‘older’ paradigm of classicalism.
  • The artist used a combination of impressionism and classicalism.


Pronunciation: /ˌklasəˈkalədē/
Example sentences
  • The black and white pictures on the wall emulate the sense of classicality.
  • After early, Busoni-influenced attempts to ‘reconcile expressionism with new classicality’, Wolpe's music took a more political turn during the early 1930s.
  • He postulates that complexity is the key to understanding the emergence of classicality.


Late 16th century (in the sense 'outstanding for its kind'): from Latin classicus 'belonging to a class' (see classic) + -al.

Words that rhyme with classical

fascicle, neoclassical

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: clas·si·cal

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