What is the Difference between a Gargoyle and a Grotesque?

This advice might come in useful when you wish to insult somebody repeatedly.  For example they might "look like a Grotesque" but they "dribble like a Gargoyle"...

A Grotesque overlooking Paris from the Grand Gallery of Notre Dame in Paris 

Dear Wilma,
I had nobody else to turn to.  I have a problem about definitions.  Far be it for me to wax lyrical so I’ll cut to the chase:  What is the difference between a Grotesque and a Gargoyle?
Your is anticipation
Andrew Edward Devons

Wilma answers below...

Wilma Replies:

What is the Difference between a Gargoyle and a Grotesque?

Dear Andrew,

Let me also cut to the chase and answer your question succinctly without recourse to explaining how I know its answer – for that would be boring.  Just this one long-lingering sentence to thank you for asking the question and for not assuming that Gargoyles and Grotesques are the same like some idiots have done recently - particularly one: a photo-journalist with many unquestioning, brown nosing, congratulatory followers.  

The Similarities between Gargoyle and Grotesques

Gargoyles and Grotesques look alike (see the illustrations below).  Most are found in similar places on Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals and churches from the medieval era.  Gargoyles and Grotesques take the form of masonry monsters and parodies of humans which are assumed, by many, to warn their building’s goers to behave as the Church instructs them or pay the consequences for their misconduct in purgatory and on the final day when they shall be sent to Hell and punished for all eternity.  In fact, they may have served a different purpose and, as this was never recorded (probably because it was widely held knowledge), we shouldn’t assume this widely held theory is true.  This theory does not explain, for instance, why many are positioned in visually inaccessible places.

The Difference between Gargoyles and Grotesques

Gargoyles gargle.  In other words, Gargoyles are water spouts which act as drains for rainwater.  Grotesques have no such function.

A Grotesque on Dornoch Cathedral, Scotland

A Gargoyle on the Basilica of Sacre Coeur in Paris 


  1. yo its orite shud hve more inofr tho a sentance isnt very helpful since the start was preety good

    1. well i thought it was really could it helped me for my homework

  2. hi
    i am doing an assignment and are doing gargoyles and grotesque but can not find the date of which they were made
    can you please give me some advice

    many thanks

  3. Im doing the same thing and it sucks due tomorrow and im doing it today !

  4. The gargoyles and grotesques are as old as the buildings they are part of.


Let yourself go when you comment on any issue raised by Wilma Proops or those who send Wilma letters. Wilma retains the right not to publish anything, for whatever reason. Those of you who are full of "utter crap" can stick it where the gobshite came from. Not recomended for control freaks.