1540s, ridyculouse, from Latin ridiculus "laughable, funny, absurd," from ridere "to laugh" (see risible). Shakespeare and other 17c. writers sometimes spelled it rediculous. Slang extensions to "outrageous" (1839); "excellent" (1959, jazz slang). Related: Ridiculously; ridiculousness. In the sense "concerned with jokes," Latin had ridicularius.
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