grotesque |ɡrōˈtesk| adjective
- Comically or repulsively ugly or distorted: grotesque facial distortions.
- Incongruous or inappropriate to a shocking degree: a lifestyle of grotesque luxury.
- A very ugly or comically distorted figure, creature, or image: the rods are carved in the form of a series of gargoyle faces and grotesques.
- (the grotesque) that which is grotesque: images of the macabre and the grotesque.
- A style of decorative painting or sculpture consisting of the interweaving of human and animal forms with flowers and foliage.
ORIGIN mid 16th century (as noun): from French grotesque (the earliest form in English), from Italian grottesca, from opera or pittura grottesca ‘work or painting resembling that found in a grotto’; “grotto” here probably denoted the rooms of ancient buildings in Rome that had been revealed by excavations and contained murals in the grotesque style.