harlequin


Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to harlequin: Harlequin ichthyosis

har·le·quin

 (här′lĭ-kwĭn, -kĭn)
n.
1. Harlequin A conventional buffoon of the commedia dell'arte, traditionally presented in a mask and parti-colored tights.
2. A clown; a buffoon.
adj.
Having a pattern of brightly colored diamond shapes.

[Obsolete French, from Old French Herlequin, Hellequin, a demon, perhaps from Middle English *Herleking, from Old English Herla cyning, King Herla, a mythical figure identified with Woden.]

harlequin

(ˈhɑːlɪkwɪn)
n
1. (Theatre) (sometimes capital) theatre a stock comic character originating in the commedia dell'arte; the foppish lover of Columbine in the English harlequinade. He is usually represented in diamond-patterned multicoloured tights, wearing a black mask
2. a clown or buffoon
adj
3. varied in colour or decoration
4. (Zoology) (of certain animals) having a white coat with irregular patches of black or other dark colour: harlequin Great Dane.
5. comic; ludicrous
[C16: from Old French Herlequin, Hellequin leader of band of demon horsemen, perhaps from Middle English Herle king (unattested) King Herle, mythical being identified with Woden]

har•le•quin

(ˈhɑr lə kwɪn, -kɪn)

n.
1. (often cap.) a comic character in commedia dell'arte and the harlequinade, usu. masked, dressed in multicolored, diamond-patterned tights, and carrying a wooden sword or magic wand.
2. a buffoon.
adj.
3. fancifully colorful.
[1580–90; < French, Middle French (h)arlequin < Italian arlecchino < Old French *harlequin, halequin a malevolent spirit, probably < Middle English *Herla king, Old English *Her(e)la cyning King Herle, presumably a legendary figure, rendered in Anglo-Latin as Herla rex]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.harlequin - a clown or buffoon (after the Harlequin character in the commedia dell'arte)harlequin - a clown or buffoon (after the Harlequin character in the commedia dell'arte)
merry andrew, buffoon, clown, goof, goofball - a person who amuses others by ridiculous behavior
Verb1.harlequin - variegate with spots or marks; "His face was harlequined with patches"
dapple, mottle, cloud - colour with streaks or blotches of different shades

harlequin

Translations

Harlequin

[ˈhɑːlɪkwɪn] NArlequín

Harlequin

n (Theat) → Harlekin m, → Hanswurst m
adjHarlekin(s)-; Harlequin costumeHarlekin(s)kostüm nt

harlequin

n (= colourful)bunt; harlequin glassesbuntes Brillengestell
References in classic literature ?
Harlequin and Pulcinella were reciting on the stage and, as usual, they were threatening each other with sticks and blows.
I can be harlequin, that only wants long legs and jumping about.
The serious exhibited a certain number of heathen gods and heroes, who were certainly the worst and dullest company into which an audience was ever introduced; and (which was a secret known to few) were actually intended so to be, in order to contrast the comic part of the entertainment, and to display the tricks of harlequin to the better advantage.
He also told us that the pantaloon's name was old Joey, and the columbine's Josy, and the harlequin's Joeykin.
The harlequin had reassumed her peasant's costume, and as she passed she raised her mask.
The place has thirty or forty thousand inhabitants and is remarkable for being the birthplace of harlequin. When we discovered that, that legend of our driver took to itself a new interest in our eyes.
But have we any leisure for a description of Brighton?--for Brighton, a clean Naples with genteel lazzaroni--for Brighton, that always looks brisk, gay, and gaudy, like a harlequin's jacket--for Brighton, which used to be seven hours distant from London at the time of our story; which is now only a hundred minutes off; and which may approach who knows how much nearer, unless Joinville comes and untimely bombards it?
He jumped from ticker to 'phone, from desk to door with the trained agility of a harlequin.
Cruncher reposed under a patchwork counterpane, like a Harlequin at home.
There is an abundance of Italian masks at the Palais Royal, from harlequin even to pantaloon."
Then, when the horses were to, in he came like a Harlequin, and before they had gone a mile, out came the watch and the fire-box together, and Kit's mother as wide awake again, with no hope of a wink of sleep for that stage.
Resisting the temptation, but agitating him violently enough to make his head roll like a harlequin's, he puts him smartly down in his chair again and adjusts his skull-cap with such a rub that the old man winks with both eyes for a minute afterwards.