Etymology
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scenic (adj.)

1620s, "of or pertaining to the stage or drama, theatrical," from French scénique (14c.) and directly from Latin scaenicus "dramatic, theatrical," from Greek skenikos, from skēnē "wooden stage for actors," also "that which is represented on stage," originally "tent or booth" (see scene).

The meaning "of or pertaining to stage scenery or effects" is by 1824; that of "of or pertaining to natural scenery" is by 1842. Of roads, etc., "offering fine landscape views," since 1885; scenic railway is recorded from 1886. Related: Scenically.

The older word was scenical, Middle English scenicalle (early 15c.) "theatrical," but this came to be used largely in a bad sense, "resembling stage illusions," hence "sham, pretended."

updated on January 24, 2022

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