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Goth·ic (gŏthĭk)
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adj.
1.
a. Of or relating to the Goths or their language.
b. Germanic; Teutonic.
2. Of or relating to the Middle Ages; medieval.
3.
a. Of or relating to an architectural style prevalent in western Europe from the 12th through the 15th century and characterized by pointed arches, rib vaulting, and an emphasis on verticality and the impression of height.
b. Of or relating to an architectural style derived from medieval Gothic.
4. Of or relating to painting, sculpture, or other art forms prevalent in northern Europe from the 12th through the 15th century.
5. often gothic Of or relating to a style of fiction that emphasizes the grotesque, mysterious, and desolate.
6. gothic Barbarous; crude.
n.
1. The extinct East Germanic language of the Goths.
2. Gothic art or architecture.
3. often gothic Printing
4. A novel in a style emphasizing the grotesque, mysterious, and desolate.

Gothi·cal·ly adv.

Word History: The expression Gothic romance unites two major influences in the development of European culture, the Roman Empire and the Germanic tribes, such as the Goths, that invaded it. Gothic originally meant "having to do with the Goths or their language," but its meaning eventually came to encompass all the qualities associated with Germanic culture, especially the Germanic culture dominant during the medieval period after the fall of Rome. This period became a subject of popular literature in the 18th century, beginning with Horace Walpole's novel The Castle of Otranto, a Gothic Story (1765). From this work of Walpole's, filled with scenes of terror and gloom in a medieval setting, descended the modern literary genre of the gothic romance.
(click for a larger image)
Gothic
façade of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame
Reims, France

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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