"of the Goths," the ancient Germanic people, "pertaining to the Goths or their language," 1610s, from Late Latin Gothicus, from Gothi, Greek Gothoi (see Goth). Old English had Gotisc. As a noun, "the language of the Goths," from 1757. Gothic was used by 17c. scholars to mean "Germanic, Teutonic," hence its use from 1640s as a term for the art style that emerged in northern Europe in the Middle Ages (which has nothing to do with the historical Goths), originally applied in scorn by Italian architects of the Renaissance; it was extended early 19c. to literary style that used northern European medieval settings to suggest horror and mystery. The word was revived 1983 as the name for a style of music and the associated youth culture (see goth). In typography, in England of black-face letters used for German text (1781), in the U.S. of square-cut printing type. Gothic revival in reference to a style of architecture and decorating (championed by Sir George Gilbert Scott) is from 1856.
updated on October 10, 2017