popular drama of Japan, developed chiefly in the 17th century, characterized by elaborate costuming, rhythmic dialogue, stylized acting, music, and dancing, and the performance of both male and female roles by male actors. Compare Nō.
(initial capital letter) . Also called Grand Kabuki.public performances of this type of drama.
Origin: 1895–1900; < Japanese: orig., as v., to act dissolutely; usually written with phonograms that carry the meanings “song-dance-skill”
1899, from Japanese, popular theater (as opposed to shadow puppet-plays or lyrical Noh dramas), lit. "art of song and dance," from ka "song" + bu "dance" + ki "art." Alternative etymology (in Webster's) is from nominal form of kabuku "to be divergent, to deviate," from early opinion of this form of drama.