• Bowl with grotesque heads: Arkansas.--1/3
    Bowl with grotesque heads: Arkansas.--1/3
  • WordNet 3.6
    • adj grotesque distorted and unnatural in shape or size; abnormal and hideous "tales of grotesque serpents eight fathoms long that churned the seas","twisted into monstrous shapes"
    • adj grotesque ludicrously odd "Hamlet's assumed antic disposition","fantastic Halloween costumes","a grotesque reflection in the mirror"
    • n grotesque art characterized by an incongruous mixture of parts of humans and animals interwoven with plants
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Bowl with grotesque head: Pecan Point,--1/3 Bowl with grotesque head: Pecan Point,--1/3
Bowl with grotesque head: Pecan Point,--1/2 Bowl with grotesque head: Pecan Point,--1/2
Bowl with grotesque handle: Scanlon's Landing, Arkansas.--1/3 Bowl with grotesque handle: Scanlon's Landing, Arkansas.--1/3

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Grotesque A whimsical figure, or scene, such as is found in old crypts and grottoes.
    • Grotesque Artificial grotto-work.
    • Grotesque Like the figures found in ancient grottoes; grottolike.
    • Grotesque Wildly or strangely formed; whimsical; extravagant; of irregular forms and proportions; fantastic; ludicrous; antic. "Grotesque design.""Grotesque incidents."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • grotesque Consisting of or resembling artificial grotto-work.
    • grotesque Hence Of the fantastic character of such grotto-work and of its decoration; wildly formed; of irregular forms and proportions; ludicrous; antic (which see), as the arabesques of the Renaissance, in which figures human to the waist terminate in scrolls, leafage, and the like, and are associated with animal forms and impossible flowers; hence, in general, whimsical, extravagant, or odd; absurdly bold: often, or more commonly, used in a sense of condemnation or depreciation.
    • grotesque Synonyms Fantastic, etc. (see fanciful); whimsical, wild, strange.
    • n grotesque That which is grotesque, as an uncouth or ill-proportioned figure, rude and savage scenery, an inartistic, clownish, or absurd fancy, a clumsy satire, or the like.
    • n grotesque Specifically In art, a capricious figure, work, or ornament; especially, a variety of arabesque which as a whole has no type in nature, being a combination of the parts of animals and plants, and of other incongruous elements.
    • n grotesque In printing, any uncouth form of type; specifically, in Great Britain, the black square-cut display-type called gothic in the United States.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Grotesque grō-tesk′ extravagantly formed: ludicrous
    • n Grotesque (art) extravagant ornament, containing animals, plants, &c. not really existing
    • ***


  • H. L. Mencken
    “Every man sees in his relatives, and especially in his cousins, a series of grotesque caricatures of himself.”
  • Dustin Hoffman
    Dustin Hoffman
    “I envy people who can just look at a sunset. I wonder how you can shoot it. There is nothing more grotesque to me than a vacation.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F., fr. It. grottesco, fr. grotta, grotto. See Grotto


In literature:

He returned shortly with three Indians, armed like himself, and dressed in the same grotesque way.
"At the Point of the Sword" by Herbert Hayens
As a book it is, of course, grotesque.
"The Book-Hunter at Home" by P. B. M. Allan
Strive to put your mounted animals in easy natural poses unless you are making a grotesque, in which case go the length.
"Home Taxidermy for Pleasure and Profit" by Albert B. Farnham
Grotesqueness of some blasphemous expressions.
"The Shirley Letters from California Mines in 1851-52" by Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clappe
Mr. Pickwick was to be got to Nupkins' in a sedan chair, a grotesque incident; but then, what to do with Tupman, also arrested?
"Pickwickian Studies" by Percy Fitzgerald
The body of the porter, doubled grotesquely, partially protruded from under a seat.
"The Promise" by James B. Hendryx
Silence fell on the whole room, for sight and words alike were paralysing in their grotesque cruelty.
"The History of Sir Richard Calmady" by Lucas Malet
It becomes a bad personal habit to use grotesque and extravagant expressions.
"Folkways" by William Graham Sumner
These were some of the sources of the grotesque carvings.
"The Story of Rouen" by Sir Theodore Andrea Cook
As to the grotesque stile of dance, the effect of it chiefly depends on the leaps and height of the springs.
"A Treatise on the Art of Dancing" by Giovanni-Andrea Gallini

In poetry:

Know that in this grotesque old masque
Too loud we cannot sing,
Or dance too wild, or speak too wide
To praise a hidden thing.
"A Portrait" by Gilbert Keith Chesterton
It is a curious thing to dream,
When shapes grotesque of all quaint things
Like laughing water-witches seem
To sport in reason's turbid springs;
"Dreams" by Martin Farquhar Tupper
Planetary seed
Sown by the grotesque wind
Whose head is so swollen with rumours
Whose hands are so urgent with tumours
Whose feet are so deep in the sand.
"Yves Tanguy" by David Gascoyne
I worry about this because I
love you. As if it weren't grotesque
enough that we live in hydrogen
and breathe like atomizers, you
have to think I'm a great architect!
"V.R. Lang" by Frank O Hara
I crouch and listen; and again
The woods are filled with phantom forms--
With shapes, grotesque in mystic train,
That rise and reach to me cool arms
Of mist; the wandering wraiths of rain.
"Rain In The Woods" by Madison Julius Cawein
But, with a start,it seemed to me,
I sat boolt upright suddenly,
And gazed, with staring eyes, before me straight;
For there, upon my inkwell's brim,
With aspect most grotesque and grim,
Methought a large, fat, hairy spider sate.
"The Insect" by C J Dennis

In news:

NEW YORK (AP) — There's a small, grotesque thing sitting on Douglas Hodge's makeup table at the American Airlines Theatre.
Court rules NYC can't require stores to post grotesque anti-smoking images.
The sleepy Irish town of Inish suddenly bursts with the grotesque.
I'm not exactly sure what it is, but there's something about satirist George Saunders that sends the New York Times into grotesque fits of hysterical simile disease.
Bring this grotesque political theater to an end.
Lara has more than a few physical flaws, which shall now be discussed, just to feel better about our own grotesque imperfections.
Don't Be Bored: No More Grotesque Psychedelia.
Tammy's hopes, dreams, and humiliations are brought vividly to life in Watson's grotesque-but-touching book Unlovable .
NO matter how intense, a medicure, or any pedicure or manicure, should leave your nails looking gorgeous, not grotesque.
Outfits ranged from colorful to grotesque.
World thinks of US when apparently ordinary people use guns for grotesque violence.
NEW YORK — There's a small, grotesque thing sitting on Douglas Hodge 's makeup table at the American Airlines Theatre.
NEW YORK—There's a small, grotesque thing sitting on Douglas Hodge 's makeup table at the American Airlines Theatre.
But in the dark drama itself, the smiles of Larry ' Lonesome ' Rhodes, played by Griffith, were often forced and sometimes even grotesque.
Chavez is convinced his right knee, severely injured in a grotesque outfield collision with shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt when they played in 2009 for the Seattle Mariners , will fully recover.

In science:

In QCD, unlike QED, chiral symmetry breaking is easily explained –indeed, required by– confinement, as numerous authors in the eighties have explained in detail. A value of αs (0) of order one or larger would be grotesquely out of line with many other phenomena, such as non-relativistic potentials for charmonium .
Phenomenological tests for the freezing of the QCD running coupling constant
Although this equation looks extremely grotesque it is really just the same as eq. 19 and is illustrated in fig. 10.
A First Exposure to Statistical Mechanics for Life Scientists