[kom-i-dee] /ˈkɒm ɪ di/

noun, plural comedies.
a play, movie, etc., of light and humorous character with a happy or cheerful ending; a dramatic work in which the central motif is the triumph over adverse circumstance, resulting in a successful or happy conclusion.
that branch of the drama which concerns itself with this form of composition.
the element of drama, of literature generally, or of life.
any literary composition dealing with a theme suitable for comedy, or employing the methods of comedy.
any or humorous incident or series of incidents.
noun (pl) -dies
a dramatic or other work of light and amusing character
the genre of drama represented by works of this type
(in classical literature) a play in which the main characters and motive triumph over adversity
the humorous aspect of life or of events
an amusing event or sequence of events
humour or comic style: the comedy of Chaplin

late 14c., from Old French comedie (14c., “a poem,” not in the theatrical sense), from Latin comoedia, from Greek komoidia “a comedy, amusing spectacle,” probably from komodios “actor or singer in the revels,” from komos “revel, carousal, merry-making, festival,” + aoidos “singer, poet,” from aeidein “to sing,” related to oide (see ode).

The passage on the nature of comedy in the Poetic of Aristotle is unfortunately lost, but if we can trust stray hints on the subject, his definition of comedy (which applied mainly to Menander) ran parallel to that of tragedy, and described the art as a purification of certain affections of our nature, not by terror and pity, but by laughter and ridicule. [Rev. J.P. Mahaffy, “A History of Classical Greek Literature,” London, 1895]

The classical sense of the word, then, was “amusing play or performance,” which is similar to the modern one, but in the Middle Ages the word came to mean poems and stories generally (albeit ones with happy endings), and the earliest English sense is “narrative poem” (e.g. Dante’s “Commedia”). Generalized sense of “quality of being amusing” dates from 1877.

Comedy aims at entertaining by the fidelity with which it presents life as we know it, farce at raising laughter by the outrageous absurdity of the situation or characters exhibited, & burlesque at tickling the fancy of the audience by caricaturing plays or actors with whose style it is familiar. [Fowler]

A work — play, story, novel, or film — that ends happily for the main character (or protagonist) and contains humor to some degree. A comedy may involve unhappy outcomes for some of the characters. Shylock, for example, in The Merchant of Venice, a comedy by William Shakespeare, is disgraced in the play. The ancient Greeks and Romans produced comedies, and great numbers have been written in modern times.


Read Also:

  • Comedy-of-manners

    noun 1. a comedy satirizing the manners and customs of a social class, especially one dealing with the amorous intrigues of fashionable society. noun 1. a comedy dealing with the way of life and foibles of a social group 2. the genre represented by works of this type

  • Come from behind

    Also, come up from behind. Advance from the rear or from a losing position, as in You can expect the Mets to come from behind before the season is over, or The polls say our candidate is coming up from behind. This idiom, which originated in horse racing, was first transferred to scores in various […]

  • Come full circle

    When something “comes full circle,” it completes a cycle, returns to its beginnings: “The novelist’s vision of human life has come full circle — from optimism to pessimism and back to optimism again.” see: full circle

  • Come hell or high water

    adverb phrase No matter what happens; in any event: I’ll find out come hell or high water (1916+ fr cowboys) see: hell or high water

Disclaimer: Comedy definition / meaning should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. All content on this website is for informational purposes only.