Use grotesque to describe things that are very strange and ugly in an unnatural way. If something "grosses you out," you can safely refer to it as grotesque.

Grotesque also refers to a style of art that uses odd and fanciful combinations of natural, human, and animal forms. The original reference was to cave paintings found in ancient Roman ruins. Our English word is from French, from Italian grottesca pittura "a cave painting," from grotta "cave." Italian grotta is the source of our English word grotto.

Definitions of grotesque
  1. adjective
    distorted and unnatural in shape or size; abnormal and hideous
    “tales of grotesque serpents eight fathoms long that churned the seas”
    synonyms: monstrous
    displeasing to the senses
  2. adjective
    ludicrously odd
    “a grotesque reflection in the mirror”
    synonyms: antic, fantastic, fantastical
    strange, unusual
    being definitely out of the ordinary and unexpected; slightly odd or even a bit weird
  3. noun
    art characterized by an incongruous mixture of parts of humans and animals interwoven with plants
    see moresee less
    type of:
    art, fine art
    the products of human creativity; works of art collectively
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week