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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The word Classic means something that is a perfect example of a particular style, something of lasting worth or with a timeless quality. The word can be an adjective (a classic car) or a noun (a classic of American literature). It denotes a particular quality in art, architecture, literature and other cultural artefacts. In commerce, products are named 'classic' to denote a long standing popular version or model, to distinguish it from a newer variety. Classic is used to describe many major, long-standing sporting events. Colloquially, an everyday occurrence (e.g. a joke or mishap) may be described as 'an absolute classic'.

"Classic" should not be confused with classical, which refers specifically to certain cultural styles, especially in music and architecture.


The classics

The classics are the literature of ancient Greece and Rome, known as classical antiquity. Classics (without the definite article) can refer to the study of the humanities: philosophy, literature, history and the arts, as distinct from technical subjects.

Cultural classics

Books, films and music particularly may become a classic, where an equally well-known painting would more likely be called a masterpiece. A classic is often something old that is still popular. Some obvious examples are Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (film) with Marilyn Monroe, Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley. The list is long and wide-ranging. Classic rock is a popular radio format, playing a repertoire old but familiar recordings.

Contemporary works may be hailed as an instant classic but the criteria for classic status tends to include the test of time. A cult classic may be well known but is only properly appreciated by a minority.

Science and technology

A well known and reliable procedure, such as a demonstration of well-established scientific principle, may be described as classic: e.g. the cartesian diver experiment.

Consumer artefacts

Manufacturers frequently describe their products as classic, to distinguish the original from a new variety, or to imply qualities in the product. The Ford Consul Classic, a car manufactured 1961–1963, has the classic tag for no apparent reason. The iPod classic was simply called the iPod until the sixth generation, when classic was added to the name because other designs were also available - an example of a retronym. Coca-Cola Classic is the name used for the relaunch of Coca-Cola after the failure of the New Coke recipe change. Similarly, the Classic (transit bus), a transit bus manufactured from 1982-97, succeeded an unpopular futuristic bus design.

A classic can be something old that remains prized or valuable (but not an antique). Classic cars are recognised by various collectors' organisations such as the Classic Car Club of America, who effectively regulate the qualifying attributes that constitute classic status.


Many sporting events take the name classic.

In Spanish-speaking countries, the term "Clásico" refers to a match between two football teams known as traditional rivals, e.g. El Clásico in Spain.

See also



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote


  • "The way to become a classic is by not resembling the classics in any way."
    • Juan Gris, quoted in Classic Essays on Twentieth-Century Music, ISBN 0028645812
  • "Something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read."
    • Mark Twain, Definition of a classic of literature. Speech at Nineteenth Century Club, New York, 20 Nov 1900
Look up classic in Wiktionary, the free dictionary

Simple English

Simple English Wiktionary has the word meaning for:
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:

Classic could mean:

  • Classic songs
  • Classic books
  • Classic cars
  • Classic literature
  • Classic movies
  • Classic rock music
  • Classic stamps
  • Classic television programs
  • British Classic Races
  • American Classic Races
  • Classic cycle races
  • The Classic (snooker) tournament
  • Macintosh Classic
  • Classic (Mac OS X)
  • Classic (transit bus), a type of transit bus manufactured from 1982 to 1997
  • The Classic a mid-size car by American Motors
  • Cult classic
  • The Classic, a Korean movie
  • Western canon
  • Classic (Better Than I've Ever Been), a 2007 song by Kanye West, Nas, Rakim, KRS-One and DJ Premier
  • A United Kingdom chocolate bar
  • Products that compare unfavourably with other products from the same manufacturer, for example because of design age, are often marketed as a 'classic' edition - for example the Range Rover Classic
  • Likewise, basic trim level editions of cars are sometimes labelled 'classic' - e.g. Mercedes Benz C-Class Classic
  • Classical antiquity
    • Classical scholarship (relating to Classical antiquity)
  • Classical music
  • Classical physics

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