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

adj distorted and unnatural in shape or size; abnormal and hideous

“tales of grotesque serpents eight fathoms long that churned the seas”
displeasing to the senses

adj ludicrously odd

“a grotesque reflection in the mirror”
antic, fantastic, fantastical
strange, unusual
being definitely out of the ordinary and unexpected; slightly odd or even a bit weird

n art characterized by an incongruous mixture of parts of humans and animals interwoven with plants

Type of:
art, fine art
the products of human creativity; works of art collectively

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.