Webster 1913 Edition



A work of acknowledged excellence and authority, or its author; – originally used of Greek and Latin works or authors, but now applied to authors and works of a like character in any language.
In is once raised him to the rank of a legitimate English
One learned in the literature of Greece and Rome, or a student of classical literature.

Webster 1828 Edition




Definition 2024



See also: clàssic


Alternative forms


classic (comparative more classic, superlative most classic)

  1. Of or relating to the first class or rank, especially in literature or art.
    • 1661, John Fell, The Life of the most learned, reverend and pious Dr. H. Hammond
      During the whole time of his abode in the university he generally spent thirteen hours of the day in study; by which assiduity besides an exact dispatch of the whole course of philosophy, he read over in a manner all classic authors that are extant []
    • Lord Byron (1788-1824)
      Give, as thy last memorial to the age, / One classic drama, and reform the stage.
  2. Exemplary of a particular style.
  3. Exhibiting timeless quality.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 20, in The China Governess:
      The story struck the depressingly familiar note with which true stories ring in the tried ears of experienced policemen. No one queried it. It was in the classic pattern of human weakness, mean and embarrassing and sad.
    • 2013 January 1, Paul Bartel, Ashli Moore, Avian Migration: The Ultimate Red-Eye Flight”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 1, page 4748:
      Many of these classic methods are still used, with some modern improvements. For example, with the aid of special microphones and automated sound detection software, ornithologists recently reported [] that pine siskins (Spinus pinus) undergo an irregular, nomadic type of nocturnal migration.
  4. Of or pertaining to the ancient Greeks and Romans, especially to Greek or Roman authors of the highest rank, or of the period when their best literature was produced; of or pertaining to places inhabited by the ancient Greeks and Romans, or rendered famous by their deeds.
    • Felicia Hemans (1804-1864)
      Though throned midst Latium's classic plains.
  5. (euphemistic) Traditional; original.
    Users who dislike the new visual layout can return to classic mode.

Derived terms



classic (plural classics)

  1. A perfect and/or early example of a particular style.
  2. An artistic work of lasting worth
  3. The author of such a work.
    • Macaulay
      Raised him to the rank of a legitimate English classic.
  4. A major, long-standing sporting event
  5. (dated) One learned in the literature of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome; a student of classical literature.


See also