baroque (adj.)

"style of architecture and decoration which prevailed in Europe late 17c. through much of 18c., later derided as clumsy in form and extravagant in contorted ornamentation," 1765, from French baroque "irregular" (15c.), said to be from Portuguese barroco "imperfect pearl," which is of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Spanish berruca "a wart."

This style in decorations got the epithet of Barroque taste, derived from a word signifying pearls and teeth of unequal size. [Fuseli's translation of Winkelmann, 1765]

The Spanish word is perhaps from Latin verruca "a steep place, a height," hence "a wart," also "an excrescence on a precious stone" (see verruca). But Klein suggests the name may be from Italian painter Federico Barocci (1528-1612), whose work influenced the style. How to tell baroque from rococo, according to Fowler: "The characteristics of baroque are grandeur, pomposity, and weight; those of rococo are inconsequence, grace, and lightness." But the two terms have been used without distinction for styles featuring odd and excessive ornamentation.

updated on September 25, 2018

Definitions of baroque from WordNet
baroque (adj.)
having elaborate symmetrical ornamentation; "the building...frantically baroque"-William Dean Howells;
Synonyms: churrigueresque / churrigueresco
baroque (adj.)
of or relating to or characteristic of the elaborately ornamented style of architecture, art, and music popular in Europe between 1600 and 1750;
baroque (n.)
elaborate and extensive ornamentation in decorative art and architecture that flourished in Europe in the 17th century;
Synonyms: baroqueness
Baroque (n.)
the historic period from about 1600 until 1750 when the baroque style of art, architecture, and music flourished in Europe;
Synonyms: Baroque era / Baroque period
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.