Definition of classic in English:

classic

adjective

  • 1Judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind.

    ‘a classic novel’
    ‘a classic car’
    • ‘It will happily cruise along all day at around 70 mph, which makes it an ideal classic car for those who expect to be doing a fair few miles on a regular basis.’
    • ‘People are quick to defend the first season as classic comedy.’
    • ‘Yes it is a tad flaky but it's also classic Hollywood high-concept cuteness.’
    • ‘She was still interpreting great, great classic songs.’
    • ‘The way they all spoke of it, it sounded like classic Americana.’
    • ‘Many unique and now classic cases are described in the nine chapters of this book.’
    • ‘During his recuperation period he listened to classic hip-hop albums and decided he would become a rapper.’
    • ‘The story is a classic tale of an unaccountable bureaucracy versus the little guy.’
    • ‘Twelfth Night is the classic Shakespearean comedy revolving around disguise, misunderstanding and love.’
    • ‘Charlotte is the author of the classic novel Jane Eyre, one of the top 20 most popular reads in the country.’
    • ‘I worked on films one after the other and after a while they all sort of blend together and you don't get the feeling it was a classic period in your life.’
    • ‘While architects have often drawn on the past to embellish their schemes, few have so comprehensively taken so much from one classic period.’
    • ‘Carefully-chosen classic antiques and quality paintings should yield solid returns over time.’
    • ‘You name one classic song that's come out of this new breed of bands.’
    • ‘Finding the ideal location took as long as finding a rare classic car.’
    • ‘The qualities of letter forms at their best are the qualities of a classic time: order, simplicity, grace.’
    • ‘Indeed, it is the view taken in many of what are now classic plant anatomy texts.’
    • ‘I'd still like to see a stylish remake of this classic tale.’
    • ‘Overall I was very impressed with the quality of classic car that I saw at the show.’
    • ‘Provided you know the rules, investing in a classic car is an ideal way to get your hands on a sporty roadster or upmarket saloon for a fraction of the price you'd pay for a new model.’
    definitive, authoritative
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    1. 1.1 (of a garment or design) of a simple, elegant style not greatly subject to changes in fashion.
      ‘this classic navy blazer’
      • ‘These designs take a classic style and make it even more sophisticated.’
      • ‘The breathable, lightweight garments come in simple, classic designs.’
      • ‘Other than that, it's an awesome take on a classic design.’
      • ‘For more vibrantly classic dresses, these two would be the winner.’
      • ‘She loves pink for what it represents: femininity, elegance and classic style.’
      • ‘This time around he went for being modern, by encompassing modern styles and techniques with Chanel's intricate classic designs.’
      • ‘Get with the trend and purchase this classic jean jacket style corduroy jacket.’
      • ‘A necktie is so classic it is almost a joke, but it doesn't have to be!’
      • ‘Pair neutral pants with a classic shirt color like navy blue, and your belt can be either brown or black.’
      • ‘Purists may object to the use of stainless steel in such a traditional classic design but I don't see it that way at all.’
      • ‘If you live in your jeans, classic styles like relaxed fit transfer well from year to year.’
      • ‘Only the more classic styles will pass with a dressy outfit.’
      • ‘The timeless classic designs are well represented by the charming all-around necklace with dainty crystal pace elements.’
      • ‘It's a very classic design which is simple and honest.’
      • ‘For evening, her navy tuxedo jacket has satin trim on the collar, pocket and sleeves, and is a modern twist on a classic design.’
      • ‘You'll find classic designs for a wide range of tastes and styles, including necklaces, bracelets and hair charms.’
      • ‘The fit is more predictable, thanks to consumer research that has simplified most of the women's pants designs into modern and classic styles.’
      • ‘The white fur shawl and the light brown loose trousers blend beautifully with her simple, classic hair style.’
      • ‘If you are more conservative and don't follow fashion trends, opt for a classic suit.’
      • ‘This jacket can be worn with sleek pants and a stylish shirt, or a classic sweater and jeans.’
      simple, elegant, understated, uncluttered, restrained
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  • 2Very typical of its kind.

    ‘Hamlet is the classic example of a tragedy’
    ‘I had all the classic symptoms of flu’
    • ‘Some heart attacks have the classic symptoms you see on television or in the movies - where someone clutches their chest and writhes in excruciating pain.’
    • ‘When those patients are evaluated, almost half of them have a normal pumping function of the heart, despite having all the classic signs and symptoms of heart failure.’
    • ‘They are the classic cartoon character archetypes - the trio of the nice guy, the angry guy, and the dumb guy.’
    • ‘Let's look at the classic symptoms of the passive-aggressive syndrome.’
    • ‘One classic example of the so-called fiscal drag applies to benefits paid by companies to their employees.’
    • ‘Wednesday night was a classic case of the symptom which has hampered the team for as long as I can remember - even when I was playing.’
    • ‘Many patients don't have classic symptoms, however.’
    • ‘I could not think of a more classic case where psychology was needed as a strategy to induce learning.’
    • ‘It is for the classic flu symptoms of dizziness, weakness, and fatigue.’
    • ‘In newborn and small infants, the classic symptoms may be harder to detect.’
    • ‘We may have the classic symptoms of the workaholic - the compulsion to spend hours away from home, the misplaced feeling of virtue - but none of this is proof we are accomplishing anything.’
    • ‘Doctors failed to properly investigate a woman with a family history of heart disease who died within a year of showing classic symptoms of a heart condition, it was alleged yesterday.’
    • ‘The report claims the retail pharmacy market exhibits a number of the classic symptoms of potential market failure.’
    • ‘Fortunately in Cambridge there are several of the former and one classic example of the latter.’
    • ‘The classic allergy symptoms such as stuffiness, eczema, wheezing, and itching may be absent, yet cognition and behavior remain affected.’
    • ‘He developed all the classic symptoms but not all at once.’
    • ‘Each subsequent rainy season left a slowly growing number of locals stricken with the classic symptoms of fever and nausea.’
    • ‘Runny nose, sore throat, dry cough, headache, aching muscles and a high fever are the classic symptoms of influenza.’
    • ‘Random glucose testing is easy and inexpensive; elevated levels in patients with classic symptoms should be confirmed by a second test.’
    • ‘You're looking at the classic symptoms that the dog demonstrates.’
    typical, archetypal, quintessential, vintage
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noun

  • 1A work of art of recognized and established value.

    ‘his books have become classics’
    • ‘What make this movie such a classic is its entertainment value plus its originality.’
    • ‘Think of the recognised classics of American cinema and they seem organic, inviolate.’
    • ‘Students at Manchester University no longer need to thumb through dusty texts when reading classics of English literature.’
    • ‘In 1883, he published Treasure Island, a much beloved children's classic.’
    • ‘So, he started to read Western literary classics.’
    • ‘In the process, they offer up the definitive home video version of this horror classic.’
    • ‘Their program of four operas includes three recognized classics and one new work that has already won many important prizes in China.’
    • ‘But it still has the power to enchant, and is a true modern classic.’
    • ‘Ideas and concepts in the book met with vigorous opposition, but today the book is recognized as a classic that was far ahead of its time.’
    • ‘The movie went on to become a timeless classic, popular around the world.’
    • ‘Imagine if we could all value each other as much as we value the classics of literature.’
    • ‘Well represented on the various top 100 lists, it has remained a timeless classic.’
    • ‘Interestingly, it is not the bestsellers but classics and literary books that find place at these counters.’
    • ‘Her works are widely read and taught and bear the hallmarks of enduring American classics.’
    • ‘It's not just current movies - classics and cult films are available.’
    • ‘So I have my own peculiar view of modern classics of American literature.’
    • ‘The latter, in fact, has become an enduring American classic.’
    • ‘The film was an instant cult classic, and rumours of a sequel have floated around the Internet for years.’
    • ‘The music has a cinematic quality which conjures up images of film noir classics.’
    • ‘His repertoire spans traditional pop classics and folk music.’
    definitive example, model, epitome, paradigm, exemplar, prototype
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    1. 1.1 A garment of a simple, elegant, and long-lasting style.
      • ‘Black is a timeless classic that suits every person and occasion.’
      • ‘Keep in mind that frames consisting of a simple square, rectangle, oval or round shapes are classics that can work with everything.’
      • ‘Buy only natural fabrics, and start with the classics - plain white and blue shirts, black, grey, and navy suits, blue blazer, wool trousers.’
      • ‘The stones of jewelry have also changed over the decades though some classics remain constant.’
      • ‘Soft and natural made from the most futuristic materials possible, this year's trend gives way to the super modern as well as the modernized return of the sixties classics.’
      • ‘While trends are instantly recognizable by length, pattern, or decoration, classics transcend time with their cut, style, and fabric.’
      • ‘Giddy up into the spirit of the west with timeless, rugged classics rather than hokey duds.’
      • ‘From the classics and the power ties, to the coolest retro neckties around, dress for success with these 12 options.’
      • ‘Traditional classics (we don't call them conservative) are still dominant, but styles that are trendier have a definite place.’
      • ‘It is a classic hunting jacket that has been around for decades and is as good as ever.’
      • ‘High quality clothing lasts longer and classics don't lose their style.’
      • ‘Keep in mind, however, that they'll never go out of style because they are pretty much classics.’
      • ‘The Burberry trenchcoat is a style classic which has influenced other manufacturers.’
      • ‘Instead, opt for solid colors such as plain whites, blacks and grays; they're classics and can easily be matched with the rest of your wardrobe.’
      • ‘Don't hesitate to purchase solid pattern suits because they will always remain classics.’
      • ‘The various pieces defined a lifestyle but their innate functionality outside of the rural setting makes them potential modern classics that work just as well in the city.’
      • ‘The following accessories are also classics, and you'll be able to wear them for many years to come.’
      • ‘As for colors, blue is the most popular color for jeans and will remain a timeless classic.’
      • ‘The diverse sectors of the fair covered the gamut of the all menswear has to offer, from the classics to the avant-garde to sportswear all at demonstrating the peak of quality.’
      • ‘It is one of their classics, they always have it in my size, it comes in a lot of colors, and I can order it without trying it on.’
    2. 1.2 A thing which is memorable and a very good example of its kind.
      ‘he's hoping that tomorrow's game will be a classic’
      • ‘The duel is a cautionary classic as well as a textbook example of strategy.’
      • ‘Football's most elemental rivalry was providing the defining classic of the genre.’
      • ‘Crowds flocked to the dockside to admire the fine array of classics, which included elegant Triumphs and the rather rugged armed vehicles driven by the 14 Signal Regiment.’
      • ‘The waffle-lined basket is a comfortable classic and easy to keep looking fresh, as the lining can be removed and put through a hot wash whenever it starts to look tired and grubby.’
      • ‘With this in mind, we talk about portraits and view examples of classics.’
      • ‘Modern cruise ships would not win prizes for good looks, particularly when compared to elegant pre-war classics such as the Queen Mary or the Normandie.’
      • ‘Certain classics stand out in both media - but it would be stretching it to say they had a separate influence on my opinions.’
      • ‘The examples are a mixture of classics from the past, as well as new examples.’
      • ‘The sad truth is that this doesn't dig up some underappreciated geniuses or lost classics of Northeastern counterculture.’
      • ‘A fur-and-pearls clientele come to be comforted with well-cooked classics such as tortellini al tartufo.’
      • ‘His chicken curry, for example, is a retro classic made with Granny Smith apples, chicken stock and desiccated coconut.’
      • ‘The menus are a modern take on comfort classics.’
  • 2A subject at school or university which involves the study of ancient Greek and Latin literature, philosophy, and history.

    ‘an honours degree in Classics’
    • ‘The book grew out of a lecture course that I delivered over several years in the late 1980s and early 1990s to final-year undergraduate students in the Faculty of Classics at Cambridge University.’
    • ‘He was educated at Malvern College and University College Oxford on a Classics scholarship.’
    • ‘I was an English major for a year before I decided to study Classics.’
    • ‘And, as every arts student knows, scientists are nothing more than sullen interlopers: Classics was studied here several centuries before physics, proving that medieval monks knew what was important.’
    • ‘He was a Harvard undergrad, a classics major.’
    • ‘That aspect of his career began when he was just six years old, and his mother was studying Sophocles' Antigone as part of a university Classics course.’
    • ‘A little under seven years ago I left a doctorate in Classics that I'd been undertaking at Bristol University.’
    • ‘He taught Classics at Birmingham University, 1929-36.’
    • ‘It suited a society that wanted a select few to pursue the life of the mind, through immersing themselves in such fusty subjects as Classics or philosophy, while everybody else did something less useless instead.’
    • ‘I transferred out to go to Saint John's College, where I immersed myself in the Classics and Ancient Greek, then I went back to Marlboro and studied Literature and Philosophy.’
    • ‘French, German, Latin and Classics are offered by the school supported by a variety of trips abroad to encourage learning new skills.’
    • ‘The author is Research Fellow at the Centre for Classics and Archaeological Studies, University of Melbourne.’
    • ‘His Oxford doctorate in Classics, earned studying Latin ghost stories and adultery tales, is of little relevance to this.’
    • ‘Social Science was her favourite subject and she hated Classics.’
    • ‘The Linguistics and Classics departments, for example, both of whom have three or fewer full time faculty, will most likely be unable to make the adjustment.’
    • ‘He graduated with honours in Classics from Melbourne University despite leaving Ormond after a row.’
    • ‘We are not looking, then, at aspirational youngsters being given a leg-up to study Classics, or any such romantic nonsense.’
    1. 2.1the classics The works of ancient Greek and Latin writers and philosophers.
      • ‘Between 1660 and 1789, the Latin language, and the Latin literary classics, remained the basis of secondary education.’
      • ‘As a reaction to the Middle Ages, in the early renaissance, there was a strong focus on a classical education consisting of Greek, Latin, the classics, and art.’
      • ‘He had also read all the Latin classics, which he placed into four divisions: historians, poets, orators and philosophers.’
      • ‘This was a strategic way of legitimizing their own ideas, but it also reflected a genuine respect for many of the insights of the classics.’
      • ‘The role of the public school was to educate potential political leaders and gentlemen, and the bulk of a public school curriculum reflected the liberal arts through the classics.’
      • ‘One of the major characteristics of this Renaissance was the rediscovery of numerous Latin classics.’
      • ‘Also the way he approaches the classics, indeed, the way he approaches all of history, is examined afresh.’
      • ‘Scholars should know the Classics and be familiar with the literary collections written by Chinese scholars because the Chinese have a superior culture.’
      • ‘He had a good grounding in the classics and became well versed in Greek and Latin.’
      • ‘As a young man he enjoyed skiing in Aspen, Colo. and spent many summers traveling in England and Italy to consult with other scholars in the Classics.’
      • ‘The philosophes of the Enlightenment were familiar with all of these arguments, trained as they were in the classics.’
      • ‘Even so, solid grounding in the Latin classics was still regarded as the essential foundation of a superior education.’
      • ‘He was in one sense a classical, Renaissance playwright, but his was a classicism that used and abused the classics rather than felt itself hidebound by them.’
      • ‘He was not especially intelligent, indeed he was quite unintellectual, lacking a deep understanding of law, of the classics, of theology.’
      • ‘In this sphere, as always, he was indebted to the classics, but the new research also showed that he was paying careful attention to contemporary events.’
      • ‘This prevailing linguistic approach to the Classics meant that the study of Ancient History was well nigh ignored in the Public Schools.’
      • ‘His own education was scholarly and he could read Latin and was familiar with the classics.’
      • ‘He was an ardent student of the classics, especially of Plato, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius, a devotee of liberty of thought, and an amateur of art.’
      • ‘Stripped of his offices in 1688, he returned with success to the theatre, and began a brilliant series of translations from the classics, particularly Virgil's Aeneid and The Georgics.’
      • ‘It's become very unfashionable to read the Classics, the Greeks and the Romans, and their literature.’
    2. 2.2dated A scholar of ancient Greek and Latin.
  • 3A major sports tournament or competition, especially in golf or tennis.

    ‘the Australian Classic’
    • ‘Austin Peay won the Top of the World Classic over South Florida and Colorado.’
    • ‘The 11 th Gallaudet University Biennial Congressional Basketball Classic will take place tonight.’
    • ‘The Golf Classic is in aid of Charlestown Christmas Lights.’
    • ‘So the Classics and the World Cup races are your target this year?’
    • ‘The annual Gerry Gaughan Memorial Sarsfields Golf Classic takes place on Saturday, June 5th.’
    • ‘The Sir Alex Ferguson Golf Classic and Gala Dinner takes place on Friday, July 19.’
    • ‘The club will hold their Golf Classic at Borris Golf Club on Friday, June 26.’
    • ‘They also have a Dubai Desert Tennis, Snooker, Cricket, Soccer and even Table Tennis Classic.’
    • ‘The annual Dunhill Golf Classic will be held at Waterford Castle on Friday, 12 th August.’
    • ‘Please do not forget the Golf Classic at Ardattin Golf Course.’
    • ‘The Abbey Community College Parents Association will hold a Golf Classic in Waterford Golf Club this Friday May 6th.’
    • ‘But the Wildcats melted in a season-opening 41-7 loss at Penn State in the Kickoff Classic.’
    • ‘There is a Golf Classic in Cloverhill organised for Saturday, July 10.’
    • ‘A Poker Classic will be held on Sunday.’
    • ‘Below are the results of the Crossmolina Deel Rovers Golf Classic held in Ballina Golf Club on Saturday, May 22.’
    • ‘New Mexico travels to Texas Tech to play in the Hispanic College Fund Football Classic.’
    • ‘Foxford's Hope House Golf Classic was held on Monday, September 3rd, at Galway Bay Golf and Country club.’
    • ‘Holmes won the English Championship and Jebb won the Lakeland Classics.’
    • ‘Monday there was a large turnout at the Galway Bay Golf and Country Club for a Golf Classic.’
    • ‘The annual Billy Heffron Chamber Golf Classic is taking place this year on Saturday the 24th of September in Ballina Golf Club.’
    1. 3.1 (in the UK) each of the five main flat races of the horse-racing season.
      • ‘His victories include 21 English and Irish Classics as well as many prestigious races overseas such as the Breeders' Cup Turf and the Dubai World Cup.’
      • ‘He has data files from nearly all the World Cups and Classics from the best riders.’
      • ‘This filly was winner of seven of her nine races, including three Classics in 1985.’
      • ‘His sire had won the Classic in '98.’
      • ‘He has also won four of the five Irish Classics and collected numerous big race wins in France.’

Usage

Note that classic means ‘typical, excellent as an example, timeless,’ as in John Ford directed many classic Westerns, and classical means ‘relating to Greek or Roman antiquity’ (the museum was built in the classical style). Great art is considered classic, not classical, unless it is created in the forms of antiquity. Classical music is the exception to this rule, being formal music adhering to certain stylistic principles of the late 18th century

Origin

Early 17th century: from French classique or Latin classicus ‘belonging to a class or division’, later ‘of the highest class’, from classis (see class).

Pronunciation

classic

/ˈklasɪk/