- a pantomime clown, typically dressed in checkered clothes
- 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
- :... were certainly the worst and dullest company into which an audience was ever introduced; and (which was a secret known to few) were actually intended so to be, in order to contrast the comic part of the entertainment, and to display the tricks of to the better advantage.
Etymology: from Middle Dutch hellekijn, meaning little hell,then in French hellequin and in Italian Arlecchino, the name of a popular servant character in commedia dell'arte plays.
- brightly coloured, especially in a pattern like that of a harlequin clown's clothes
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Full Definition of harlequin