Definition of freak show in English:

freak show


  • 1A sideshow at a fair, featuring abnormally developed people or animals.

    • ‘Last time I watched it, I had a dream that she shot all you guys and then sold me to a freak show.’
    • ‘These are the facts as we know them: In 1810, a woman from Southern African's Khoisan tribe was brought to England by two white men and put on display in a freak show at 225 Piccadilly, London.’
    • ‘The result is a rich and varied cultural history of freak shows and their complex role within literary and visual modernity.’
    • ‘Neither you nor I wish to show ourselves off there like two animals on a freak show in a circus.’
    • ‘With his orphaned son in hand, Trewley sets off into the murky depths of London and the freak show where he discovers the Elephant Woman.’
    • ‘The freak show institution allowed circusgoers the pleasures of looking at freaks and being fascinated with them, but they were also protected from feeling guilty about it.’
    • ‘Monsters, nonetheless, flourished in popular literature and freak shows up through the 19th century.’
    • ‘The wider argument is that as the freak show went out of business, its imagery spread through literature, film and the visual arts.’
    • ‘If there was ever any value in freak shows it was as an example of how not to treat disabled people.’
    • ‘By the 1940s freak shows were considered distasteful and morally unacceptable and the acts slowly began to disappear.’
    • ‘She continued shouting, ‘You're sick and twisted and you belong in a freak show at the carnival where people can watch you for a price!’’
    • ‘Based on a Victorian freak show the ‘Carnies’ (from carnivals) staged an alternative ‘Unfairground’ with attractions on the theme of pain.’
    • ‘When people want to get a picture of me, it actually makes me feel like I'm in a freak show, like all I am is some thing.’
    • ‘‘I probably look like something from a freak show,’ He thought with a small scoff, letting his head droop forwards as his mom wheeled him from the room.’
    • ‘Someone would give him multimillions to play 18 months, three nights a week in Vegas, play for tourists, play your hits, you know, part freak show, part musical revue.’
    • ‘The freak show implicitly situated the viewer in a particular relationship to its content; however the response of actual spectators did not always conform to structural expectations.’
    • ‘He addresses the crowd in Irish, denouncing the deceptions of the freak show and its owner; a riot breaks out and the show is destroyed, but he himself escapes by train - back to London.’
    • ‘And if this has pleased the socially-conscious, it has deeply offended many freak show performers.’
    • ‘The trio is sidetracked on their journey when Julie spots garishly painted roadside billboards for a freak show and insists they check it out.’
    • ‘When others speak for the disabled, they often point the way to the freak show and the medical theater, two arenas of human objectification.’
    1. 1.1 An unusual or grotesque event viewed for pleasure, especially when in bad taste.
      • ‘If we don't keep drugs out of these events, they become freak shows, the athletes like gladiators - with us playing the role of decadent Romans, urging them on.’
      • ‘The punch-up was first of all a media event, a freak show.’
      • ‘I trotted back to the living room to watch the freak show.’
      • ‘If you're like 99 out of 100 bodybuilders, you'd most likely roll up your sleeve, raise your better arm, and flex your gun for all you're worth in an attempt to astonish the person who had requested the freak show.’
      • ‘Unable to compete in the known categories of news, analysis, commentary, and opinion, the news channel created a freak show as its signature offering.’
      • ‘But while the sport has been transformed in the last five years, you still find people treating our event as a freak show or a catwalk.’
      • ‘Granted, it's not the sort of thing to simply convert into a freak show or horror fest as, whether you or I believe or not, others do believe and their emotions and deep feelings of loss are not to be tossed aside blithely.’
      • ‘And in the freak show that the presidential election is shaping up as, who is to say which freak will end up first in show?’
      • ‘It's a freakshow that's also a mirror pointed at the universal freak show that lurks under all our skins.’
      • ‘In a world where pop-star pedophilia has replaced terrorist bombings as front-page fodder, there's no need for a real costume - society is enough of a freak show as it is.’
      • ‘It's this arrogance or, really, out-of-touchness, this particular sociopathology, that helps create the freak show.’


freak show