a. A buffoon or jester who entertains by jokes, antics, and tricks in a circus, play, or other presentation.
b. One who jokes and plays tricks.
2. A coarse, rude, vulgar person; a boor.
3. A peasant; a rustic.
intr.v. clowned, clown·ing, clowns
1. To behave like a buffoon or jester.
2. To perform as a buffoon or jester.
3. To krump, especially in clown makeup.
[Of Scandinavian origin (akin to Icelandic klunni, clumsy person) or of Low German origin.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.