antic (n.)

From Online Etymology Dictionary:

“1520s, antick, antyke, later antique (with accent on the first syllable), “grotesque or comical gesture,” from Italian antico“antique,” from Latin antiquus “old, ancient; old-fashioned” (see antique (adj.)). In art, “fantastical figures, incongruously combined” (1540s).

Originally (like grotesque) a 16c. Italian word referring to the strange and fantastic representations on ancient murals unearthed around Rome (especially the Baths of Titus, rediscovered 16c.); later extended to “any bizarre thing or behavior,” in which sense it first arrived in English. As an adjective in English from 1580s, “grotesque, bizarre.” In 17c. the spelling antique was restricted to the original sense of that word.

antics (n.)

“ludicrous behavior,” 1520s; see antic.”

From Wikipedia:

“Antic Hay is a comic novel by Aldous Huxley, published in 1923. The story takes place in London, and depicts the aimless or self-absorbed cultural elite in the sad and turbulent times following the end of World War I.

The title is from the play Edward II by Christopher Marlowe, c1593, Act One, Scene One, lines 59-60: “My men, like satyrs grazing on the lawns, shall with their goat feet dance the antic hay”, which is quoted on the frontispiece. “Antic hay”, here, refers to a playful dance.”

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