Definition of zany in English:



  • Amusingly unconventional and idiosyncratic.

    ‘zany humor’
    • ‘The Child Trust Fund is embarrassingly reminiscent of US presidential candidate George McGovern's zany scheme to give every American citizen $1,000.’
    • ‘Whether you need a break from exams, or are just looking for an amusing, intelligent film, you can't go wrong with a trip to the zany world of Steve Zissou.’
    • ‘Viewers of last night's late editions of Ten News and Sports Tonight would have enjoyed the zany antics of the respective crews if they were watching closely.’
    • ‘His zany humour took comedy to new heights of absurdity.’
    • ‘The children are taken under the wing of zany housekeeper Martha but rarely see their uncle, who demands absolute silence while he writes his book.’
    • ‘For those with a zany sense of humor, the adventures of Lieutenant Frank Drebin were a laugh riot from beginning to end.’
    • ‘How are we to be entertained by her zany antics when she's incarcerated?’
    • ‘By this stage I was barely holding it together, ready to bust out in tears of joy at how zany these madcap antics were unfolding to be.’
    • ‘We both liked making costumes and had a similarly zany sense of humour.’
    • ‘Show Us Ya Wits is a zany hour of belly-achingly funny and fresh stand-up.’
    • ‘The zany hilarity of the early '80s has not aged well.’
    • ‘He brings us authority, composure and work rate and a bossing of midfield players we have lacked all of this zany season.’
    • ‘The last I knew he was living in the Borders in some psychiatric home or an old person's slightly zany home.’
    • ‘A night of zany misdirection and bonding ensues.’
    • ‘It's kind of weird having a ghost - I call him the zany ghost - always around the house.’
    • ‘The craze that is sweeping America and Europe, sending crowds flocking to landmarks or shops to stage zany gatherings, arrived in Yorkshire at the weekend.’
    eccentric, bizarre, weird, peculiar, odd, quirky, avant-garde, unconventional, off-centre, strange, outlandish, ridiculous, ludicrous
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  • 1An erratic or eccentric person.

    • ‘I love students, what a zany, crazy bunch they are.’
    • ‘We are looking for the zany, the serious, the artistic and ridiculous.’
    1. 1.1historical A comic performer partnering a clown, whom he imitated in an amusing way.
      jester, court jester, clown, buffoon, comic, joker, jokester, zany, merry andrew
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Late 16th century: from French zani or Italian zan(n)i, Venetian form of Gianni, Giovanni ‘John’, stock name of the servants acting as clowns in the commedia dell'arte.