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zany (ZAY-nee) adjective

Amusingly strange, comical, or clownish.

[From French zani, from Italian zanni, a nickname for Giovanni.]

The term has its origin in the comedy theater commedia dell'arte popular in 16-18th century Italy. Giovanni, Italian form of the name John, was originally the generic name of the servant, a stock character who tried to mimic his master, himself a clown.

See more usage examples of zany in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

"The ReJoyce 2004 Szombathely Festival with events such as the Leopold Bloom Ikebana (flower poetry contest) promises to be the most zany, spirited, Joycean tribute of all!"
Esther Vécsey; ReJoyce! Dublin on the Danube; The Budapest Sun (Hungary); Jun 10, 2004.

"The free show, designed for children in kindergarten through the sixth grade, is full of zany illusions and silly jokes and plenty of audience participation."
Monica Lander; Former Alcoholic to Share Tragedy With Students; San Ramon Valley Times (California); May 12, 2004.

This week's theme: eponyms.


Taught from infancy that beauty is woman's sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison. -Mary Wollstonecraft, reformer and writer (1759-1797)

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