Gothic, adjective and noun.

  1. Of, pertaining to, or concerned with the Goths or their language.
      1611 Bible Transl. Pref. 5: "Vlpilas is haue translated the Scriptures into the Gothicke tongue."

  2. Formerly used in extended sense, now expressed by Teutonic or Germanic.
      1647 N. Bacon Disc. Govt. Eng. i. xl. 96: "Nor can any Nation upon earth shew so much of the ancient Gothique Law as this Island hath."

  3. a. Belonging to, or characteristic of, the Middle Ages; mediæval, ‘romantic’, as opposed to classical. In early use chiefly with reprobation: Belonging to the ‘dark ages’ (cf. sense 4). Obsolete.
      1695 [see 4]. 1710 Shaftesbury Characteristics (1727) I. iii. 217: [The Elizabethan dramatists] "have been the first of Europeans, who since the Gothick Model of Poetry, attempted to throw off the horrid Discord of jingling Rhyme."

      b. A term for the style of architecture prevalent in Western Europe from the twelfth to the sixteenth century, of which the chief characteristic is the pointed arch. Applied also to buildings, architectural details, and ornamentation. The most usual names for the successive periods of this style in England are Early English (or First Pointed), Decorated, and Perpendicular. Our quotations seem to show that the term was taken in the first instance from the French, and employed to denote any style of building that was not classical (Greek or Roman), but used by many writers as if derived immediately from sense 2.

      1641 Evelyn Diary Aug.: "This...towne...hath one of the fairest Churches, of the Gotiq design, I had seene."

  4. Gothic Revival = revival.
    1869 C. L. Eastlake Hints Household Taste (ed. 2) i. 32: "The earliest promoters of the Gothic revival appreciated the superficial effect of such features... The glories of the ‘fretted vault’ were not unfrequently imitated in lath and plaster."

  5. Barbarous, rude, uncouth, unpolished, in bad taste. Of temper: Savage.
      1695 Dryden Du Fresnoy's Art Paint. 93: "All that has nothing of the Ancient gust is call'd a barbarous or Gothique manner."

The Gothic Experience Page

Revised: Feb. 7, 2003