[Ads-l] "grotesque", noun

Joel Berson berson at ATT.NET
Fri Jan 15 20:11:42 UTC 2016


I suppose the quotations below fit sense 1.b rather than 1.a, so they postdate OED2 1893--.  (Later quotations use the Italian form "grotteschi.")

 1.a = A kind of decorative painting or sculpture, consisting of representations of portions of human and animal forms, fantastically combined and interwoven with foliage and flowers.

1.b = A work of art in this style. Chiefly pl., figures or designs in grotesque; in popular language, figures or designs characterized by comic distortion or exaggeration.

Boston Globe, Jan. 15, 2015, page B1.
-----
The limestone figure had gazed out onto the campus of Worcester Polytechnic Institute for a century, holding a ball next to its head in a symbol of the importance of physical education.
This week, it was time for the “grotesque” to come down. Thirty-three others like it will soon fall, as WPI prepares to demolish the Alumni Gymnasium in favor of a new academic and residential building.
 The grotesques have a special place in the lore of the institution, so WPI wants to save them for use in the new structure.
...
“I think a lot of people over the years have viewed these as kind of a fun and quirky and interesting architectural oddity,” said Alfredo DiMauro, assistant vice president for facilities at WPI.
...
(The figures aren’t considered gargoyles because they don’t act as water spouts.)
-----
I assert that "grotesque" in the 2nd paragraph above is the singular noun, not an adjective.

Joel

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


More information about the Ads-l mailing list