Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Classic or classical?

from English Grammar Today

Classic: adjective

Classic means ‘high quality’. In particular, we use it to mean something that is valued because it has a traditional style:

She was wearing a classic dark blue skirt.

It’s a classic motorbike from the 1940s.

Classic also means a perfect or most typical example of something:

The show is a classic example of TV made for children.

Classic: noun

We can use a classic and the classics to refer to the greatest and most famous works of literature from the past:

Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ is a classic.

I never read modern novels. I always prefer the classics, such as Dickens and Jane Austen.

Classics without an article means the academic subject which includes the study of Ancient Greek and Latin:

My sister is studying Classics at Manchester University right now.

Classical: adjective

We use classical to refer to the culture of the past and to art forms which belong to a long formal tradition:

Mozart is probably the best-known classical composer.

She’s only eight years old and she has learned to dance both classical and modern ballet.

(“Classic or classical?” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press. Need grammar practice? Try English Grammar Today with Workbook.)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Word of the Day

glacial

made or left by a glacier

Word of the Day

Let’s celebrate! (words and phrases for parties)

by Kate Woodford,
December 17, 2014
​​​ With Christmas and New Year almost upon us, we thought it a good time to look at the language of parties and celebrations. First, let’s start with the word ‘party’ itself. To have or throw a party or, less commonly, to give a party is to arrange a party: We’re having a

Read More 

cinderella surgery noun

December 15, 2014
cosmetic surgery to the feet We have all heard of people having nose jobs, boob jobs and liposuction – but now a new trend growing in popularity in America: Cinderella surgery.

Read More