Keatonesque enters the dictionary

In October, 2018, the word “Keatonesque” was added to The Oxford English Dictionary

Keatonesque, adj.

Pronunciation:: Brit./,ki:tE’n(esk/, U.S. / ,kitn’Esk/

Frequency (in current use) 2/8

Origin: From a proper name, combined with an English element. Etymons: proper name , Keaton, -ESQUE suffix.

Etymolgy: < the name of Joseph Frank ‘Buster’ Keaton (1895-1966), U.S. comic actor and film-maker + ESQUE suffix.


Of or relating to the comic actor and film-maker Buster Keaton; resembling or characteristic of his films or style of comedy.

Keaton is best known for his silent films, characterized by physical comedy performed with a consistently stoical, deadpan expression.

E.-L. Squier in Picture-play Mag. July 68/1 All around the white walls of the perfectly antiseptic room various sign cards were posted, all typically Keatonesque.

Observer 12 Oct 33/6 Mr. Webb’s timing is really very expert: he maintains a cool, Keatonesque restraint so that Roger’s sexual enocunters are chastely as well as genuinely amusing.

N.Y. Times 27 June 72/3 Martin Kersels achieves cinematic effect in still photography, using seequential images to show his Arbucklian bulk executing Keatonesque pratfalls on the Los Angeles sidewalk.

R. Jackson Fade in, Crossroads 118 Pete Ginotta wearsa a straw hat and a deadpan expression in the best Keatonesque tradition.

From the announcement:

“OED 3: The Revisioning (October 2018)
The phrase ‘the language of cinema’ is typically used when referring to visual literacy: the means by  which we ‘read’ the way a film was shot and edited, with camera movement, cuts, and close-ups used as a form of communication. But as with any area of specialism, film has its own ever-expanding lexicon, and such is cinema’s popularity and influence that the words involved often make their way through to mainstream consciousness. With this in mind we’ve added over 100 words and phrases as part of this update to increase the OED’s own stock of film terms. Like the finest Spielbergian fare, there’s something for everyone, with words derived from all areas of the industry: cinematography to criticism, film scripts to film-makers.

This last group is perhaps the single most obvious source for the new additions: 20 new adjectives relating to specific directors have been included. The list runs through a range of genres and locations, from the wide landscapes of the American West evoked by Fordian to Swedish soul-searching with Bergmanesque. The oldest takes us back to the silent era and Buster Keaton: Keatonesque dates from 1921, near the start of an extraordinary run of success for the comic actor and film-maker, and typically refers to Keaton’s famous deadpan expression and penchant for physical comedy. The most recent is Tarantinoesque, first seen in 1994 – the year Pulp Fictionappeared in cinemas, and only two years after Quentin Tarantino’s debut feature as a director, Reservoir Dogs. The word’s use touches on a number of features clear in these two early films – graphic and stylized violence, cineliterate references, non-linear storylines, sharp dialogue, and more – and is a reminder of the impact these films had on cinema in the 1990s.”