Definition of classic in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈklasɪk/


1Judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind: a classic novel a classic car
More example sentences
  • Overall I was very impressed with the quality of classic car that I saw at the show.
  • Provided you know the rules, investing in a classic car is an ideal way to get your hands on a sporty roadster or upmarket saloon for a fraction of the price you'd pay for a new model.
  • Charlotte is the author of the classic novel Jane Eyre, one of the top 20 most popular reads in the country.
definitive, authoritative;
outstanding, of the highest quality, first-rate, first-class, best, finest, excellent, superior, masterly, exemplary, consummate;
1.1(Of a garment or design) of a simple, elegant style not greatly subject to changes in fashion: this classic navy blazer
More example sentences
  • This jacket can be worn with sleek pants and a stylish shirt, or a classic sweater and jeans.
  • The breathable, lightweight garments come in simple, classic designs.
  • This time around he went for being modern, by encompassing modern styles and techniques with Chanel's intricate classic designs.
simple, elegant, understated, uncluttered, restrained;
traditional, time-honoured, timeless, ageless, abiding, enduring, immortal
2Very typical of its kind: Hamlet is the classic example of a tragedy I had all the classic symptoms of flu
More example sentences
  • It is for the classic flu symptoms of dizziness, weakness, and fatigue.
  • We may have the classic symptoms of the workaholic - the compulsion to spend hours away from home, the misplaced feeling of virtue - but none of this is proof we are accomplishing anything.
  • Doctors failed to properly investigate a woman with a family history of heart disease who died within a year of showing classic symptoms of a heart condition, it was alleged yesterday.
typical, archetypal, quintessential, vintage;
model, representative, prototypical, paradigmatic;
perfect, prime, copybook, textbook;
standard, characteristic, stock, true to form


1A work of art of recognized and established value: his books have become classics
More example sentences
  • Imagine if we could all value each other as much as we value the classics of literature.
  • Their program of four operas includes three recognized classics and one new work that has already won many important prizes in China.
  • What make this movie such a classic is its entertainment value plus its originality.
definitive example, model, epitome, paradigm, exemplar, prototype;
outstanding example, paragon, great work, masterpiece, masterwork;
established work, standard;
French pièce de résistance
1.1A garment of a simple, elegant, and long-lasting style.
Example sentences
  • The Burberry trenchcoat is a style classic which has influenced other manufacturers.
  • High quality clothing lasts longer and classics don't lose their style.
  • Keep in mind that frames consisting of a simple square, rectangle, oval or round shapes are classics that can work with everything.
1.2A thing which is memorable and a very good example of its kind: he’s hoping that tomorrow’s game will be a classic
More example sentences
  • With this in mind, we talk about portraits and view examples of classics.
  • A fur-and-pearls clientele come to be comforted with well-cooked classics such as tortellini al tartufo.
  • Certain classics stand out in both media - but it would be stretching it to say they had a separate influence on my opinions.
2 (Classics) A subject at school or university which involves the study of ancient Greek and Latin literature, philosophy, and history: an honours degree in Classics
More example sentences
  • I transferred out to go to Saint John's College, where I immersed myself in the Classics and Ancient Greek, then I went back to Marlboro and studied Literature and Philosophy.
  • It suited a society that wanted a select few to pursue the life of the mind, through immersing themselves in such fusty subjects as Classics or philosophy, while everybody else did something less useless instead.
  • His Oxford doctorate in Classics, earned studying Latin ghost stories and adultery tales, is of little relevance to this.
2.1 (the classics) The works of ancient Greek and Latin writers and philosophers.
Example sentences
  • As a reaction to the Middle Ages, in the early renaissance, there was a strong focus on a classical education consisting of Greek, Latin, the classics, and art.
  • Stripped of his offices in 1688, he returned with success to the theatre, and began a brilliant series of translations from the classics, particularly Virgil's Aeneid and The Georgics.
  • The role of the public school was to educate potential political leaders and gentlemen, and the bulk of a public school curriculum reflected the liberal arts through the classics.
2.2 dated A scholar of ancient Greek and Latin.
3 (Classic) A major sports tournament or competition, especially in golf or tennis: the Australian Classic
More example sentences
  • Monday there was a large turnout at the Galway Bay Golf and Country Club for a Golf Classic.
  • They also have a Dubai Desert Tennis, Snooker, Cricket, Soccer and even Table Tennis Classic.
  • The Abbey Community College Parents Association will hold a Golf Classic in Waterford Golf Club this Friday May 6th.
3.1(In the UK) each of the five main flat races of the horse-racing season.
Example sentences
  • He has also won four of the five Irish Classics and collected numerous big race wins in France.
  • This filly was winner of seven of her nine races, including three Classics in 1985.
  • His victories include 21 English and Irish Classics as well as many prestigious races overseas such as the Breeders' Cup Turf and the Dubai World Cup.


Note that classic means ‘typical, excellent as an example, timeless,’ as in John Ford directed many classic Westerns, and classical means ‘relating to Greek or Roman antiquity’ ( the museum was built in the classical style). Great art is considered classic, not classical, unless it is created in the forms of antiquity. Classical music is the exception to this rule, being formal music adhering to certain stylistic principles of the late 18th century.


Early 17th century: from French classique or Latin classicus 'belonging to a class or division', later 'of the highest class', from classis (see class).

Words that rhyme with classic

boracic, Jurassic, neoclassic, potassic, thoracic, Triassic

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: clas|sic

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