harlequins; harlequined

If your little sister seems fascinated by the harlequin character in the play you're watching together, it might be because of the brightly colored, diamond-patterned tights he's wearing. A harlequin is a classic comic pantomime character.

In traditional pantomime, a comic performance with silent actors, a harlequin is a funny character who wears a mask and a distinctive diamond-patterned costume. The word harlequin sometimes describes bright, many-colored colored things, like a harlequin circus tent. The oldest versions of the word harlequin — the Middle Dutch hellekijn and the Old French hellequin, reference Hell and mean a kind of demon. In the translation from French to English, the harlequin lost his demonic quality and became a clown.

Definitions of harlequin
  1. noun
    a clown or buffoon (after the Harlequin character in the commedia dell'arte)
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    type of:
    buffoon, clown, goof, goofball, merry andrew
    a person who amuses others by ridiculous behavior
  2. verb
    variegate with spots or marks
    “His face was harlequined with patches”
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    type of:
    cloud, dapple, mottle
    colour with streaks or blotches of different shades
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘harlequin'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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