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(often initial capital letter) of or relating to a style of architecture and art originating in Italy in the early 17th century and variously prevalent in Europe and the New World for a century and a half, characterized by free and sculptural use of the classical orders and ornament, by forms in elevation and plan suggesting movement, and by dramatic effect in which architecture, painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts often worked to combined effect.
(sometimes initial capital letter) of or relating to the musical period following the Renaissance, extending roughly from 1600 to 1750.
extravagantly ornate, florid, and convoluted in character or style:
the baroque prose of the novel’s more lurid passages.
irregular in shape:
baroque pearls.
(often initial capital letter) the baroque style or period.
anything extravagantly ornamented, especially something so ornate as to be in bad taste.
an irregularly shaped pearl.
Historical Examples

And never minding the seed pearls, you’ve got quarts of baroques there.
A Son Of The Sun Jack London

To me they presented little but horror—to many they will seem less terrible than baroques.
Lords of the Housetops Various

Most of the baroques are too irregular in shape to have any special name applying to their form.
A Text-Book of Precious Stones for Jewelers and the Gem-Loving Public Frank Bertram Wade

noun (often capital)
a style of architecture and decorative art that flourished throughout Europe from the late 16th to the early 18th century, characterized by extensive ornamentation
a 17th-century style of music characterized by extensive use of the thorough bass and of ornamentation
any ornate or heavily ornamented style
denoting, being in, or relating to the baroque
(of pearls) irregularly shaped

1765, from French baroque (15c.) “irregular,” from Portuguese barroco “imperfect pearl,” of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Spanish berruca “a wart.”

This style in decorations got the epithet of Barroque taste, derived from a word signifying pearls and teeth of unequal size. [Fuseli’s translation of Winkelmann, 1765]

Klein suggests the name may be from Italian painter Federigo Barocci (1528-1612), a founder of the style. How to tell baroque from rococo, according to Fowler: “The characteristics of baroque are grandeur, pomposity, and weight; those of rococo are inconsequence, grace, and lightness.” But the two terms often used without distinction for styles featuring odd and excessive ornamentation.

baroque [(buh-rohk)]

A period in the arts, visual and musical, from about 1600 to about 1750, marked by elaborate ornamentation and efforts to create dramatic effects. Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederick Handel, and Antonio Vivaldi were great composers of the baroque era.


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