mummer

mummer

[muhm-er]
noun
1.
a person who wears a mask or fantastic costume while merrymaking or taking part in a pantomime, especially at Christmas and other festive seasons.
2.
an actor, especially a pantomimist.

Origin:
1400–50; late Middle English mommer. See mum2, -er1

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World English Dictionary
mummer (ˈmʌmə)
 
n
1.  one of a group of masked performers in folk play or mime
2.  a mime artist
3.  jocular, derogatory or an actor
 
[C15: from Old French momeur, from momer to mime; related to momon mask]

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

mummer
c.1405, probably a fusion of M.Fr. momeur "mummer" (from momer "mask oneself," from momon "mask") and M.E. mommen "to mutter, be silent," related to mum (interj.). OED marks it as "obsolete," but the word, and the custom, are alive and thriving in Philadelphia, U.S.A.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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