Adjective "harlequin" definition and examples



Definitions and examples


A mute character in traditional pantomime, typically masked and dressed in a diamond-patterned costume.
  1. 'The harlequin threw the baton over the translucent material, diving underneath and emerging on the other side to catch the silver rod, to gasps of awe from the spectators.'
  2. 'Canio's character, Pagliaccio, catches his wife with the young Harlequin, played by the troupe's junior member, Beppe.'
A small duck of fast-flowing streams around the Arctic and North Pacific, the male having mainly grey-blue plumage with bold white markings.
  1. 'It hosts a critical range for ungulates, several regionally important wildlife movement corridors, productive wildlife habitat, and listed species such as grizzly bears and harlequin ducks.'
  2. 'I've seen more gyrfalcons around Myvatn than anywhere else in Iceland and rarely fail to find harlequin ducks under the bridge over the River Laxá.'


In varied colours; variegated.
  1. 'The custom cabinets look like bright circus blocks, the tile backsplash has a harlequin pattern, and the pendant lights resemble spun cotton candy.'
  2. 'The signature area is the harlequin pattern of terracotta, green, and yellow glass tiles forming the back-splash behind the cooktop.'


1. (often initial capital letter) a comic character in commedia dell'arte and the harlequinade, usually masked, dressed in multicolored, diamond-patterned tights, and carrying a wooden sword or magic wand.

2. a buffoon.

3. any of various small snakes having bright diamond-pattern scales. adjective

4. fancifully varied in color, decoration, etc.: harlequin pants.

5. resembling a harlequin's mask: harlequin glasses.

More examples(as adjective)

"coats can be harlequin."


Late 16th century: from obsolete French, from earlier Herlequin (or Hellequin), the name of the leader of a legendary troop of demon horsemen; perhaps ultimately related to Old English Herla cyning ‘King Herla’, a mythical figure sometimes identified with Woden.