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The grotesque figure of the zombie was so distorted in appearance that it was highly disturbing. Its bizarre face and grotesque build were so scary to look at, and it really grossed me out. I prefer lighter movies that feature pleasant characters, not these horror films that feature grotesque or extremely ugly characters meant to shock and creep you out.

Quiz: What is an example of something grotesque?

  • A school bus that is painted pink with brightly colored flowers.
  • An erupting volcano that is raining ash and lava on a city below.
  • A five-headed monster with giant feet and tiny arms.

Memory Hook

Grotesque Something grotesque is just gross.


  • It’s there that our uncommon hero flourished, unleashing the dry wit and romantic imagination hidden beneath his grotesque appearance. —New York Post
  • The plot of The Host isn’t anything spectacular: Cute girl is captured by grotesque monster; her bumbling family hunts the monster. —Wired
  • The embodiment of this mix is the Joker. Somewhere between Moriarty and the Phantom of the Opera, he is both a “ruthless cunning criminal” who interrupts radio broadcasts to announce who he is going to murder and which jewel he is going to steal, and a grotesque monster who lurks in a laboratory hidden beneath a graveyard. —BBC
  • Whether beautiful or grotesque or both, an image or an object can force the viewer to look at it and accept its existence. —Forbes

Word Ingredients

crypt hidden
-esque resembling

Grotesque ultimately comes from a root word meaning “grotto,” a cave or cavern (natural or artificially constructed) “hidden” away. Pictures found in excavated Roman buildings had elements of the grotesque in them, that is, they were somewhat “bizarre” or “outlandish,” and hence were appropriately “resembling” that which should be “hidden” away, and so were. Note: the letters “k” and “g” are often interchangeable across languages.

Word Theater

Rick and Morty The monster is grotesque.

Word Constellation