Definition of Gothic in English:

Gothic

adjective

  • 1Relating to the Goths or their extinct language, which belongs to the East Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. It provides the earliest manuscript evidence of any Germanic language (4th–6th centuries AD).

    • ‘Protected in Rome by his patrons, he left the city at the time of the Gothic sack in AD 410, taking brief refuge in Africa and seeing his supporter Cælestius condemned at the Council of Carthage in 411.’
    • ‘The Germans consolidated in the Po Valley, along the so-called Gothic line, and fought a hard battle through the autumn and winter months.’
    • ‘With the extinction of the Ostrogothic language, the longest-surviving Gothic people finally disappeared from history.’
    • ‘The Swedes are descended from the Gothic tribes that moved into Sweden following the melting glaciers, probably during the Neolithic period.’
    • ‘Not until 562 did he finally take Brixia and Verona from the Goths and inflict a crushing defeat on the combined Frankish and Gothic armies.’
    • ‘He translated the Bible from Greek into the Gothic language.’
    • ‘During the sixth century, in the period between the Gothic war and the consolidation of the Lombard kingdom under king Agilulf, there were repeated Frankish interventions in Italy.’
    • ‘With the seat of power removed to the east, the Italian peninsula was left largely unguarded as the Gothic hordes swept west from their homelands at the periphery of the Black Sea.’
  • 2Of or in the style of architecture prevalent in western Europe in the 12th–16th centuries (and revived in the mid 18th to early 20th centuries), characterized by pointed arches, rib vaults, and flying buttresses, together with large windows and elaborate tracery. English Gothic architecture is divided into Early English, Decorated, and Perpendicular.

    • ‘The ornate Gothic church directly across from her home provided a dramatic backdrop as the summer sun went down.’
    • ‘Nor were these all soaring, vertical lancets that ended, Gothic style, in pointed arches.’
    • ‘Like the soaring vaults of Gothic cathedrals, the Eiffel Tower is a uniquely French symbol of invention and aspiration.’
    • ‘The home's two brick and stone chimneys were based on existing French Country and Gothic designs.’
    • ‘The Jerusalem YMCA is a combination of Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic, and neo-Moorish architecture.’
    • ‘About 1120 arches began to be made pointed, and from this grew the style known as Early English, the first phase of Gothic architecture in England.’
    • ‘The Gothic arches of the college provide the inspiration - the canteen, the hostel steps, the ‘woods’ - all colouring the memories of the rebel years.’
    • ‘Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, baroque, and rococo facades combine to create majestic results.’
    • ‘Barry was a master of planning, organisation and dealing with bothersome committees and he had designed some Gothic buildings, but he was not at heart a Goth.’
    • ‘Whether writing about Gothic churches or peasant shrines, Chateaubriand managed to convey a sense of awe and respect which he placed at the centre of religious experience.’
    • ‘Edinburgh's graceful Gothic buildings, famed Fringe Festival and history-drenched Royal Mile provide plenty of options to the visitor.’
    • ‘The result incorporates a visible seismic infrastructure with shapes that reflect the traditional Gothic tracery.’
    • ‘However, Barron's largely uncritical appropriation of Gothic architecture for the 21st century troubles me.’
    • ‘The vast master bedroom - two bedrooms knocked into one - has a row of decorative Gothic sash windows overlooking the garden as well as an en suite and separate toilet.’
    • ‘Ramsey reminds us of the increased importance and status of named architects at this time, a process initiated during the earlier periods of Gothic architecture.’
    • ‘Built between 1160 and 1289, Saint Peter's cathedral is a combination of Romanesque, Gothic and neo-classical styles.’
    • ‘A wine like this often reminds me of a Gothic cathedral with flying buttresses.’
    • ‘The parliament is a Greek temple, the city hall, a Flemish Gothic guildhall.’
    • ‘The relationship between Gothic ornament and literature can be quite striking.’
    • ‘Barron surveys a number of French Gothic churches and includes a number of illustrations.’
  • 3archaic Belonging to or redolent of the Dark Ages; portentously gloomy or horrifying.

    ‘19th-century Gothic horror’
    • ‘Do not expect to like it if you do not like science fiction or Victorian literature set in London or Gothic horror.’
    • ‘And yet Kyoka's delicate, visual language suspends the Gothic violence over moments of horrible beauty.’
    • ‘And so too may Campion in her portrayal, which effectively returns Isabel to the realm of Gothic romance.’
    • ‘Indeed, the pattern has been revisited and reworked by countless Gothic stylists since Poe.’
    • ‘The arts of prose fiction were extended by Scott's historical novels, by the sensational effects of Gothic fiction, and by the emergence of the short story form in the Edinburgh and London magazines.’
    • ‘If the landscape, as Louis Gross argued in his book on Gothic fiction, was the locus of terror in much American fiction, the landscape has become less threatening in this century.’
    • ‘Even members of your own family cast a Gothic shadow.’
    • ‘The style of the film is very Tim Burton, with its Gothic humour and distorted architecture.’
    • ‘Thompson addresses the variations Poe creates with the Gothic tale by structuring a conflict between reason and irrationality.’
    • ‘Functioning as both a commentary and counterpoint to the center text, excerpts from the Gothic short stories of Edgar Allan Poe run along the left side of the page.’
    • ‘It's not a genre like, say, science fiction or Gothic horror or romance.’
    • ‘In My Antonia, memory is Gothic in both of these senses: it occurs across unstable boundaries and in a dubious and ambivalent relationship to domesticity.’
    • ‘The film was of the ‘art house’ variety, a dark tale set in a Gothic atmosphere with a family being slowly torn apart.’
    • ‘And these story lines provided a chance to break from the Gothic tone of previous seasons.’
    • ‘Although both narrators are prone to purple passages, the texture of Singer's Gothic prose remains one of the novel's strengths.’
    • ‘The Castle of Otranto was an early example of the Gothick horror novel and Historic Doubts on Richard III fathered a minor academic industry.’
    • ‘She had turned away from Gothic literature and started writing about what she knew, inventing a new genre.’
    • ‘Although William Beckford wrote a Gothick romance as reckless and immoderate as himself, his life of epic prodigality would arrest attention had he not written a single line.’
    • ‘The critical fortunes of Gothic writing since Walpole's time have swung intermittently between derision of its hoary clichés and enthusiasm for its atmospheric, psychologically suggestive power.’
    • ‘Du Maurier's novel is a lusty tale of pirates on the Cornish coast, with plenty of Gothic atmosphere, and opportunities for grand set pieces - including two shipwrecks.’
  • 4(of lettering) of or derived from the angular style of handwriting with broad vertical downstrokes used in western Europe from the 13th century, including Fraktur and black-letter typefaces.

    • ‘With his initials in Gothic script on either side, the artist's head is topped by a snake that doubles as a wisp of hair.’
    • ‘I examined the videotape, looking at the bright stickers that marked it as the store's, as well as the title of the movie, proclaimed boldly in Gothic script on its front.’
    • ‘On the other side was printed only the initials NB, in a kind of Gothic script.’
    • ‘In 1934 the Monotype Corporation had won an international competition to provide new sets of Gothic type for every German government department, and had kept a set of them.’
    • ‘Again, one felt the force of Sigmund Freud's personality as he parades his Analysis of the Ego in bold Gothic script across the pages.’
    • ‘It was launched with the 1921 vintage in 1927 as a more accessible product than the host of German bottles adorned with Gothic script and long, complicated names.’
    • ‘The part of the menu dealing with the sausages, by the way, was illustrated with a saying in German in Gothic script: ‘Everything has an end, only the sausage has two’.’
    • ‘With deep concentration, I carefully formed the Gothic script.’
    • ‘In Europe, the Gothic script of some manuscripts and of early printing (Gutenberg's, for example) enjoys a similar life as pattern alone.’
    • ‘A band of gilded silver inscribed with Gothic lettering that reads BRACHIUM S. PHILIPPI encircles the wrist of the arm relic.’
    • ‘It comes in two different typographic styles, Gothic typeface and graffiti style, both of which are popular in hip-hop on an international scale.’
    • ‘The pages are blank save for a sinister woodcut of a dragon and a single word in Gothic type: Drakulya.’
    • ‘Each page is covered in a translucent layer of white acrylic and mica that partially obscures the text, which is printed in an old-fashioned Gothic font.’
    • ‘Underneath it were the words ‘Animal Martyr’ emblazoned in a flowing, Gothic script.’
    • ‘The presence of Gothic motifs in the typography of 16th-century illustrated books and even in church architecture is not construed as a paralyzed attachment to tradition.’
    • ‘Mutu is the David Beckham of his country: a fashion icon who married a TV star, he displays a tattoo of his son's name, Mario, in Gothic letters along the base of his back, and wears boots with Mario embroidered on them.’
    • ‘The quotations are printed in the Fraktur Gothic typeface favored by the Hitler regime, and beneath the citations Haacke has placed a row of garbage cans, each fitted with a speaker playing the sounds of marching troops.’
    • ‘Written in magniloquently Gothic letters of gold leaf, the composer's name on the portrait above his left shoulder recalls the style of the escutcheons of the knights of the Golden Fleece.’
  • 5Relating to goths or goth music.

    • ‘I admit, she was a little strange - she wore gothic clothes and make up, but I thought that that was kind of sexy.’
    • ‘Ashlee, in the process of becoming a woman, wants to be gothic and a rebel.’
    • ‘I kind of thought it sounded gothic or it had some kind of black metal connotation to it.’
    • ‘In the center room, there was a gothic looking girl sitting at an old wooden desk.’
    • ‘On an unrelated note, one night, me and crew went to a goth bar down in Ybor and got all gothic.’
    • ‘The Finnish band H.I.M. is the most famous representative of contemporary Gothic rock.’
    • ‘The gothic culture leads young, susceptible minds into an imagined world of evil, darkness, and violence.’
    • ‘There in the back corner were three gothic looking people facing each other and talking.’
    • ‘If Elbow had been into the dark and gothic side of the eighties then this could be them now.’
    • ‘It's not surprising after all that First Half Second are as gothic and as morbid as a Transylvanian cemetery.’
    • ‘It's a big tune, a dark gothic crash of beats, robotic chanting and twisted 303.’
    • ‘Lally seemingly has created his own subgenre of gothic cowboy punk with these tracks.’
    • ‘There's an almost gothic, guitarless noisiness which recalls early Young Gods.’
    • ‘If shivers down your spine are what you're after, this is prog gothic ethnoforgery electronica at its finest.’
    • ‘What do Rugby league, gothic music, mouldy posters and blogging have in common?’
    • ‘As the closest thing we have to a gothic masterpiece, it is unfortunate that there is not much in the way of additional features on the disc.’
    • ‘For example, I have loud and quiet tapes, industrial and gothic tapes and even some bad 80's tapes.’
    • ‘Huge gothic, almost science fiction based soundscapes shroud their set.’
    • ‘There was Bishop and he had his lips locked on some gothic girl standing behind a countertop.’
    • ‘Sabriel commented and the gothic boy gave her an evil glare as they all walked back to their seats.’
    ornate, exotic, imaginative, creative, fancy
    View synonyms

noun

mass noun
  • 1The extinct language of the Goths.

    • ‘Goths had their own Arian churches (as can still be seen in Ravenna), and surviving documents written by clerics show that Gothic was spoken there.’
    • ‘Especially interesting is the Crimean Gothic word for ‘egg’.’
  • 2The Gothic style of architecture.

    • ‘The most important and original monument of Estonian Gothic is the old town of Tallinn itself, which is listed as a World Heritage site.’
    • ‘Caroline Bruzelius brings similar considerations of nationality to bear on her study of French Gothic in Central and Southern Italy in the thirteenth century.’
    • ‘Here, I stood face-to-face with magnificent structures in 17 architectural styles, including Gothic, renaissance and classical.’
    • ‘She also gave an account of the Russian architecture - Baroque, Gothic, Art Nouveau.’
    • ‘Baxandall's term is adapted from the style terminology for late Gothic, relating the sculpture to broader traditions of taste and craft.’
    • ‘The central arch at Ajmer is straighter - Tudor Gothic - and the side arches are multifoil and cusped, a common feature in other Islamic work outside India.’
    • ‘And those blokes who might have invented Gothic, the Moors?’
    • ‘Suburban Gothic is the style of the moment on the UpsideClown.’
    • ‘Architecturally, three styles were merged for the construction of the building - Gothic, Ionic and Corinthian.’
    • ‘After much discussion, we looked at different door styles from different architectural styles such as Gothic, Art Deco, Colonial and Modern.’
    • ‘The hill has been built upon since the 10th century, and almost every style of architecture is represented upon it, from Romanesque to Gothic to Renaissance to Baroque.’
    • ‘The largest and most complex of Byrne's commissions, this commission reflected the nation-wide interest in Gothic, but in a novel, contemporary iteration.’
    • ‘Australian Gothic is generously illustrated with full-page colour illustrations and black and white photographs and drawings that are carefully related to the text.’
    • ‘The Arts Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand is an example of 19th-century Gothic.’
    • ‘The buildings, with their revival styles - Tudor, Spanish, Mediterranean, and Gothic - were the first to bring apartment-style living to our cities.’
    • ‘No architect has ever completely summarized the Gothic any more than been completely Modern; historians have made these points time and again.’
    • ‘It's a confusingly grand mixture of styles from Gothic to Gaudi.’
    • ‘The combination of styles - Gothic, Renaissance, Classical, Modern, and Baroque - makes the old city center especially attractive.’
    • ‘From the 1840s it was the norm for the Anglo-Indian church builder to follow the precedent set by the revivers of the many permutations of Gothic in England.’
    • ‘Here you will find Gothic, Baroque, Neo-Classical and Art Nouveau nestling among Sixties and Seventies monstrosities.’
  • 3Gothic type.

    • ‘It is also written in the new humanist script: this replaced medieval Gothic script and, in its rejection of Gothic's abbreviations and fusion of letters, made text more accessible.’
    • ‘‘Erich’ became ‘Eric’ and he now wrote in Latin characters instead of Gothic.’

Origin

From French gothique or late Latin gothicus, from Gothi (see Goth). It was used in the 17th and 18th centuries to mean ‘not classical’ (i.e. not Greek or Roman), and hence to refer to medieval architecture which did not follow classical models ( Gothic (sense 2 of the adjective)) and a typeface based on medieval handwriting ( Gothic (sense 4 of the adjective)).

Pronunciation

Gothic

/ˈɡɒθɪk/