Share this entry

zany Line breaks: zany
Pronunciation: /ˈzeɪni/

Definition of zany in English:

adjective (zanier, zaniest)

Amusingly unconventional and idiosyncratic: his zany humour
More example sentences
  • His zany humour took comedy to new heights of absurdity.
  • We both liked making costumes and had a similarly zany sense of humour.
  • For those with a zany sense of humor, the adventures of Lieutenant Frank Drebin were a laugh riot from beginning to end.
eccentric, bizarre, weird, peculiar, odd, quirky, avant-garde, unconventional, off-centre, strange, outlandish, ridiculous, ludicrous;
mad, insane, crazy, absurd, comic, comical, clownish, farcical, madcap, silly, light-hearted, funny, amusing, chucklesome, diverting, waggish, hilarious
informalwacky, screwy, nutty, nuts, crackpot, cracked, oddball, cranky, kinky, off the wall, way out, dippy, cuckoo
British informaldaft
North American informalkooky, wacko, in left field
Australian/New Zealand informal, , dateddilly


Back to top  
1A zany person.
Example sentences
  • We are looking for the zany, the serious, the artistic and ridiculous.
  • I love students, what a zany, crazy bunch they are.
1.1 historical A comic performer partnering a clown, whom he imitated in an amusing way.





Example sentences
  • It often thinks wackiness or zaniness is a virtue.
  • Surely this is British zaniness at its very best.
  • While rumors of alcoholism and overall zaniness have circulated in the press, I think this just adds to Lula's mystique.


Late 16th century: from French zani or Italian zan(n)i, Venetian form of Gianni, Giovanni 'John', stock name of the servants acting as clowns in the commedia dell'arte.

  • Zany was the name of one of the servants in the improvized Italian theatre, the commedia dell'arte, popular from the 16th to 18th centuries. The word is a Venetian form of Gianni, which itself is short for Giovanni. In its earliest uses in English a zany was a comic performer who imitated the actions of a clown or acrobat, and zany described his behaviour. See also pantaloons

Words that rhyme with zany

Bahraini, brainy, Chaney, Eugénie, grainy, Janey, Khomeini, rainy, veiny, waney

Definition of zany in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Related Words