Definition of clown in English:


Syllabification: clown
Pronunciation: /kloun


1A comic entertainer, especially one in a circus, wearing a traditional costume and exaggerated makeup.
More example sentences
  • Tweedy, who is one of three clowns touring with the circus, made a big impact with the 150 children at the infant school.
  • Other attractions at the circus include clowns, acrobats, wire-walkers, trapeze artists, an equestrian display and jugglers.
  • This was the time also when the circus clowns, saltimbanques and harlequins began to appear on his canvases, with their own smiling kinds of loneliness.
1.1A comical, silly, playful person: I was always the class clown
More example sentences
  • Back then, children were expected to entertain themselves, which is how Lucky learnt to play the clown.
  • And to that end, he teaches serious professionals how to play the clown.
  • He had a restless, attention-seeking nature and loved to play the clown.
1.2A foolish or incompetent person: we need a serious government, not a bunch of clowns
More example sentences
  • If there are clowns and incompetents and criminals in your midst and you protect them, you're just as bad as they are and you command no respect at all from anyone.
  • For a moment I smiled like a foolish clown, then twiddled my thumbs.
  • And I think most people see them as a bunch of clowns.
2 archaic An unsophisticated country person; a rustic.
More example sentences
  • The hob part of hobgoblin was a familiar form of Robin or Robert and became a standard name for a rustic person or a clown.


[no object] Back to top  
Behave in a comical way; act playfully: Harvey clowned around pretending to be a dog
More example sentences
  • They laughed; they clowned around, they playfully argued over who would pickup the tab.
  • All they saw was the fool who clowned around in class.
  • At the Junior School, the children clowned around with wigs and face-paints.
fool around, play the fool, play around, monkey around;
joke (around), jest
informal mess around, horse around


mid 16th century (sense 2 of the noun): perhaps of Low German origin.



More example sentences
  • He remains speechless for the next 49 years, endlessly, silently acting out comic/tragic clownish scenes as entertainment for children - the one thing he excels at.
  • Fat and clownish, he is addicted to odd habits like hitting dim students over their heads with exercise books or taking the bright ones for rides on his motorcycle.
  • Both are in clownish white-face make-up and lit only by white light in a black box theatre.


More example sentences
  • Meanwhile, he idles away his days in the company of two friends, his clownishly large ears doing nothing to offset the gravity of a demeanor made more grave by the memory of Ryan's death.
  • Joe clownishly spun the bottle, and it pointed to her.
  • Like all adolescent males, they were looking for food and their feet seemed clownishly huge.


More example sentences
  • Sometimes I roll my eyes at the antics of our corporate and governmental ‘leaders,’ sometimes I get mad at them, and sometimes the only thing to do is laugh at their clownishness.
  • The director fails desperately in bringing out one character's clownishness or another's restrained comedy.
  • ‘Let me kiss a beautiful lady,’ he said with passionate clownishness.

Definition of clown in: