comic, comical
These two words overlap in meaning, but comic is the more common of the two and is the only one with the purely descriptive meaning ‘relating to or in the nature of comedy’, as in comic actor and comic opera. Comical is a more evaluative word, meaning ‘funny, causing laughter’, as in comical appearance and a comical situation; comic can also have this meaning but is often taken to imply intention rather than effect. The following examples demonstrate the different perspectives of these words in this meaning:

• Both brothers laughed out loud at the deliberately comic delivery of his English phrases as they shook hands —A. Grey, 1983

• In reality, the relationship was a strained and sometimes comical mismatch, a 50-year-long saga of crossed purposes —Daily Telegraph, 1992

• He wiped his head, looking almost comical in his shorts and sandals —N. Barber, 1992

• Simply said, this anthology is too long. None of it lacks literary charm, that is certain; but much of it lacks any actual comic element —First Things Magazine, 2005.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Comical — Com ic*al, a. 1. Relating to comedy. [1913 Webster] They deny it to be tragical because its catastrophe is a wedding, which hath ever been accounted comical. Gay. [1913 Webster] 2. Exciting mirth; droll; laughable; as, a comical story. Comical… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Comical — may refer to: Comedy, a type of theatrical drama Comical Radio, a weekly radio show in New York City Comical (software), a Mac OS X and Windows comic book viewer. Can be compiled for Linux This disambiguation page lists articles associated with… …   Wikipedia

  • comical — index ludicrous Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • comical — early 15c., comic, from COMIC (Cf. comic) (or L. comicus) + AL (Cf. al) (1). Meaning funny is from 1680s. Earlier M.E. had an identical word meaning epileptic, from L. morbus comitialis epilepsy …   Etymology dictionary

  • comical — comic, farcical, ludicrous, ridiculous, *laughable, risible, droll, funny Analogous words: absurd, silly, *foolish: jocular, jocose, humorous (see WITTY): waggish, impish, roguish, sportive (see PLAYFUL): deriding or derisive, ridiculing, mocking …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • comical — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ causing laughter, especially through being ludicrous. DERIVATIVES comically adverb …   English terms dictionary

  • comical — [käm′i kəl] adj. 1. causing amusement; humorous; funny; droll 2. Obs. of or fit for comedy SYN. FUNNY comicality [käm′ikal′ə tē] n. comically adv …   English World dictionary

  • comical — [[t]kɒ̱mɪk(ə)l[/t]] ADJ GRADED If you describe something as comical, you mean that it makes you want to laugh because it seems funny or silly. Her expression is almost comical... Events took a comical turn. Syn: funny Derived words: comically… …   English dictionary

  • comical — adjective /ˈkɒmɪkəl,ˈkɑmɪkəl/ a) Originally, relating to comedy. It was a comical performance b) Being funny, whimsically amusing. The tutor cruelly excelled in comical scoldings …   Wiktionary

  • comical — adj. VERBS ▪ be, look, seem, sound ▪ become ▪ make sth ▪ What made it so comical was that their hats kept falling off …   Collocations dictionary