charade

[shuh-reyd; especially British shuh-rahd]
noun
1.
charades, (used with a singular verb) a game in which the players are typically divided into two teams, members of which take turns at acting out in pantomime a word, phrase, title, etc., which the members of their own team must guess.
2.
a word or phrase acted out in this game.
3.
a blatant pretense or deception, especially something so full of pretense as to be a travesty.

Origin:
1770–80; < French < Provençal charrad(o) entertainment, equivalent to charr(á) to chat, chatter (from imitative root) + -ado -ade1

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Collins
World English Dictionary
charade (ʃəˈrɑːd)
 
n
1.  an episode or act in the game of charades
2.  chiefly (Brit) an absurd act; travesty

charades (ʃəˈrɑːdz)
 
n
(functioning as singular) a parlour game in which one team acts out each syllable of a word, the other team having to guess the word
 
[C18: from French charade entertainment, from Provençal charrado chat, from charra chatter, of imitative origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

charade
1776, from Fr. charade, from Prov. charrada "long talk, chatter," of obscure origin, perhaps from charrar "to chatter, gossip," of echoic origin. Originally not silent, merely relying on enigmatic descriptions of the words or syllables; the silent form was dumb charades. Welsh siarad obviously is a loan-word
from Fr. or Eng., but its meaning of "speak, a talk" is closer to the Prov. original.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

charades

originally a kind of riddle, probably invented in France during the 18th century, in which a word or phrase is divined by guessing and combining its different syllables, each of which is described independently by the giver of the charade. Charades may be given in prose or verse. The following is an example of a poetic charade:My first is a Tartar,My second a letter;My all is a country,No Christmas dish better.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Reality series combining informal talk and game show elements as celebrities
  come together for a game of charades.
Going up the river the party were in high spirits, and employed the time in
  charades, music and dancing.
In this lesson, students play a game of charades as an experiment in non-verbal
  communication.
Most taxi drivers know it, or some creative charades will get the point across.
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