Definition of baroque in English:



  • 1Relating to or denoting a style of European architecture, music, and art of the 17th and 18th centuries that followed mannerism and is characterized by ornate detail. In architecture the period is exemplified by the palace of Versailles and by the work of Bernini in Italy. Major composers include Vivaldi, Bach, and Handel; Caravaggio and Rubens are important baroque artists.

    • ‘Narrow streets, Renaissance palaces, and baroque churches give Mala Strana its present charm.’
    • ‘The jury may still be out on Rubens's great baroque theatricals but who can resist the oil sketches?’
    • ‘At a two-for-one price it's an even stronger must-have for lovers of outstanding and unusual baroque chamber music.’
    • ‘Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, baroque, and rococo facades combine to create majestic results.’
    • ‘Accordingly, the transitional period between the opulent baroque period and the less formal rococo era of Louis XV became known as French Régence, or Regency.’
    • ‘Derek Adlam has already featured on a couple of Guild discs devoted to late baroque keyboard music and this Haydn release shows him on the same fine form.’
    • ‘The programme will include baroque concertos by Vivaldi, Bach and many more.’
    • ‘Assignments can be organized around a theme, such as Beethoven, baroque music, opera or jazz.’
    • ‘Peter Paul Rubens was one of the most learned, inventive, and prolific artists of the baroque period in northern Europe.’
    • ‘To sum up, this disc is a must for all choral enthusiasts who have the rich seam of 18th century baroque music at heart.’
    • ‘Handel's standing as one of the greatest composers of the high baroque period is based on his Messiah, dozens of other oratorios and operas, Water Music, and Music for the Royal Fireworks.’
    • ‘Finally, the third-floor galleries provide a survey of European paintings from the medieval, Renaissance, baroque, and rococo periods.’
    • ‘It too accumulated an impressive number of guitarists and composers especially as baroque music reached its peak.’
    • ‘It certainly starts earlier than the baroque masters Bach and Handel (all the way back to the Medieval period, really, with Leonin and Perotin).’
    • ‘As the seat of Prussia it boasts of Gothic and baroque architecture reminiscent of other European capitals.’
    • ‘Early eighteenth century baroque composer Vivaldi was a trained priest who had music in his heart.’
    • ‘The Italian-inspired architecture of the baroque period reflects a combination of religious piety and worldly opulence.’
    • ‘He brought stylish performance practice to the music of the baroque and classical periods, especially Handel oratorio and Mozart opera.’
    • ‘Inside you'll find examples of gothic, Mudéjar, renaissance and baroque architecture along with a stunning collection of works by Rubens, Goya, Van Dyck and Velázquez.’
    • ‘And I've started to think that perhaps I should expand my CD collection to include more baroque music.’
    1. 1.1Highly ornate and extravagant in style.
      ‘the candles were positively baroque’
      • ‘But, accomplished and deftly controlled as it is, The Fallen Idol feels like a chamber piece beside the two baroque, expressionistic works made on either side.’
      • ‘And although much of it seems static compared to the director's later work, it's also earthier, less baroque, more emotional and moving.’
      • ‘Unlike my hypothesis, she speaks in her baroque and breathless way not only when upset or anxious but also when she is up and effusive.’
      • ‘He also earned the scorn of most of the UK when the couple sold pictures of their baroque wedding to a glossy magazine for #1 million.’
      • ‘And somehow, by the late twentieth century, the gorgeously baroque fantasy of space flight turned out to be a technical possibility.’
      • ‘At times, the walking step is inflated to a neat little leap; at its most baroque, it becomes a tiny turn.’
      • ‘His baroque and intentionally abstruse periodic Latin proved extremely liable to corruption in the extensive and contaminated later manuscript tradition.’
      • ‘The former Labor leader never came up with abuse like that even at his most baroque.’
      • ‘If the Little Church is as Old Vegas as Sinatra at the Sands, the wedding chapels at Bellagio are as New Vegas as Celine Dion - extravagant, baroque.’
      • ‘To their millionaire owners and portico-loving architects, they are temples of mock baroque and neo-Tudor excess that serve as worthy successors to the great country houses of the past.’
      • ‘And the gaudy baroque of his ‘Costume Jewelry’ series foreshadows the aggrandized odds and ends of the Still Lifes to come.’
      • ‘Way beyond merely luxurious, the baroque decor is jaw-droppingly ostentatious.’
      • ‘The most baroque of these is a slippery square of cod, baked in a dome of salt and egg whites, which the waiters tap open at the table with a spoon.’
      • ‘Now, it's not like the sound has changed that much, but this album certainly is flowerier, more baroque, more self-consciously showy than anything they've done so far.’
      • ‘Some, like the bus from Terminal Norte to Teotihuacan, are decorated with such baroque flourish, visibility can become seriously and ironically impaired.’
      • ‘Which is why, I guess, he seems happiest when executing baroque and extreme forms of punishment.’
      • ‘The series comes to a climax in three largo reliefs from 1966 that feature baroque, curved sections forming irregular billowing masses.’
      • ‘After albums from showy, baroque Rufus - at the Grand Opera House in York on Monday - and his heart-on-her-sleeve sister Martha, the parents are back.’
      ornate, fancy, very elaborate, over-elaborate, curlicued, extravagant, rococo, fussy, busy, ostentatious, showy, wedding-cake, gingerbread
      flowery, florid, flamboyant, high-flown, high-sounding, magniloquent, grandiloquent, orotund, rhetorical, oratorical, bombastic, laboured, strained, overwrought, overblown, overripe, overdone, convoluted, turgid, inflated
      View synonyms


  • The baroque style or period.

    • ‘The exuberance of the carving, attributed to Rhodian sculptors, and the dramatic, illusionistic setting are characteristic of the Hellenistic baroque.’
    • ‘Runners were described as ‘rowing their legs to a rapid tempo’, just the sort of improbable turn of phrase which was in fact beloved by the classical baroque.’
    • ‘He renounced the joyful individuality seen in early Swedish baroque and tried instead to turn the whole of the country into his own Città ideale.’
    • ‘Above all, perhaps, it confirmed its composer's repossession of the baroque in its regular harmonic movement.’
    • ‘A fine example of Central American baroque in Granada is the Iglesia de La Mercad, which was completed in 1539 and restored in 1862.’
    • ‘Rooms come in three styles: Moorish, with intricate plasterwork framing your bed; the more conventional Isabelline baroque; or Castilian, with rococo furniture and ornate silver mirrors.’
    • ‘But Viennese baroque is more than a decorative style; it's an attitude to life, an affirmation of delight in the richness and grandeur of things.’
    • ‘They feature palatial cathedrals, now totally imaginary, and evoking the grandest styles, from the Sacré-Coeur to the Kremlin, from Saint-Sophia to English gothic, Austrian or German baroque.’
    • ‘Britain baroque was never whole-heartedly embraced or permitted to overwhelm classical models.’
    • ‘Most big-ticket performers know their place, whether it be classical, baroque or grand opera.’
    • ‘Consequently, Cuban furniture made during this period was quickly given foreign forms and styles such as the Queen Anne style, as well as French and Dutch baroque and rococo elements.’
    • ‘Otherwise, they're big and feisty, baroque in the manner that has come to be de rigueur.’
    • ‘The aims of Quoting Caravaggio are ambitious and laudable, and Mieke Bal's formula for a contemporary baroque is intriguing.’
    • ‘Austrian architects created a distinctive national style, Austrian baroque, that featured irregular or undulating outlines, dynamic use of bold and delicate colors, and rich ornamentation.’
    • ‘The baroque of Purcell, Bach and Handel is never going to stick you to your seat a la Ludwig but there were times when I though I would levitate so sublime was the music.’
    • ‘I'm sure that those who love the baroque will need no prompting to sample the delights of this collection of pieces by one of Germany's finest composers of the period.’
    • ‘What were called ‘Chinoiserie’ styles of alleged Asian designs were in vogue for those who wanted a lighter alternative to the formality of baroque or neoclassicism.’
    • ‘There will be Russian orchestral repertoire with Russian orchestras and a further flavour of the baroque with Anne Sofie Von Otter and the Gabrielli Consort.’
    • ‘Enthusiasts of the baroque will want to sample but making the purchase for a rather short changed disc that plays for well under an hour would be daunting for some.’


Mid 18th century: from French (originally designating a pearl of irregular shape), from Portuguese barroco, Spanish barrueco, or Italian barocco; of unknown ultimate origin.