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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Community Comment

A Word A Day — seriocomic

October 04, 2012

Word of the Day

  • seriocomic
  • audio pronunciation
  • \seer-ee-oh-KAH-mik\


: having a mixture of the serious and the comic

The intergenerational meal was a seriocomic affair, with the younger generation refereeing the jabs their elders hurled at one another while trying to keep the youngest generation from getting a true sense of just what was going on.

"Inspired by actual events surrounding the visit of Britain's King George and Queen Elizabeth to the New York residence of sitting President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor, in the summer of 1939, the film is a seriocomic look at one of history's little known footnotes." — From a movie trailer review on, September 3, 2012


"Seriocomic" may have a modern ring to it, but our earliest evidence of the word in print is from 1783. Another "comic" word—"heroicomic," meaning "comic by being ludicrously noble, bold, or elevated"—is slightly older; evidence of it dates to 1756. Both words are about a century younger than our third "comic" word, "tragicomic" ("manifesting both tragic and comic aspects"), which print evidence dates to 1683. (Evidence of the variant "tragicomical," however, dates all the way back to 1567.)

From Merriam-Webster Online at

Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.