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clown

Syllabification: clown
Pronunciation: /kloun
 
/

Definition of clown in English:

noun

1A comic entertainer, especially one in a circus, wearing a traditional costume and exaggerated makeup.
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.
Synonyms
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.
Synonyms
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.
Synonyms
2 archaic An unsophisticated country person; a rustic.
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.

verb

[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.
Synonyms
fool around, play the fool, play around, monkey around;
joke (around), jest
informal mess around, horse around

Origin

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

More
  • The earliest recorded uses of clown means ‘an unsophisticated country person’. Before long it was being applied to any rude or ill-mannered person, and by 1600 the word was also being used to refer to the character of a fool or jester in a stage play, from which the comic entertainer in a circus developed. For some reason quite a few people seem to be afraid of clowns, and a word for the condition has been coined coulrophobia. The first element was borrowed from a Greek word for a stilt-walker, clowns not being known in the classical world.

Derivatives

clownish

1
adjective
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.

clownishly

2
adverb
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.

clownishness

3
noun
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:

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