Definition of zany in English:



  • Amusingly unconventional and idiosyncratic.

    ‘his zany humour’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A night of zany misdirection and bonding ensues.’
    • ‘How are we to be entertained by her zany antics when she's incarcerated?’
    • ‘The Child Trust Fund is embarrassingly reminiscent of US presidential candidate George McGovern's zany scheme to give every American citizen $1,000.’
    • ‘For those with a zany sense of humor, the adventures of Lieutenant Frank Drebin were a laugh riot from beginning to end.’
    • ‘It's kind of weird having a ghost - I call him the zany ghost - always around the house.’
    • ‘The zany hilarity of the early '80s has not aged well.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Show Us Ya Wits is a zany hour of belly-achingly funny and fresh stand-up.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We both liked making costumes and had a similarly zany sense of humour.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    eccentric, bizarre, weird, peculiar, odd, quirky, avant-garde, unconventional, off-centre, strange, outlandish, ridiculous, ludicrous
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  • 1A zany 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.