1. the principles or styles characteristic of the literature and art of ancient Greece and Rome.
  2. adherence to such principles.
  3. the classical style in literature and art, or adherence to its principles (contrasted with romanticism).Compare classical(def 7).
  4. a Greek or Latin idiom or form, especially one used in some other language.
  5. classical scholarship or learning.


  1. a style based on the study of Greek and Roman models, characterized by emotional restraint and regularity of form, associated esp with the 18th century in Europe; the antithesis of romanticismCompare neoclassicism
  2. knowledge or study of the culture of ancient Greece and Rome
    1. a Greek or Latin form or expression
    2. an expression in a modern language, such as English, that is modelled on a Greek or Latin form

“classical style in art or literature,” 1830, from classic + -ism. Related: Classicist.

An approach to aesthetics that favors restraint, rationality, and the use of strict forms in literature, painting, architecture, and other arts. It flourished in ancient Greece and Rome, and throughout Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Classicists often derived their models from the ancient Greeks and Romans.

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