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[muhm-er] /ˈmʌm ər/
a person who wears a mask or fantastic costume while merrymaking or taking part in a pantomime, especially at Christmas and other festive seasons.
an actor, especially a pantomimist.
Origin of mummer
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English mommer. See mum2, -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for mummer
Historical Examples
  • He had at hand a surer ladder to fame than the mummer's art.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • They ought at least, to give us a moorish dance, or some other mummer!

    Notre-Dame de Paris Victor Hugo
  • I persuaded the head of our mummer troop to write out their play as it was handed down to him by his predecessors.

    A Cotswold Village J. Arthur Gibbs
  • But the mummer had gone so far as to assume the type of the Red Death.

  • It is as though we caught Ajax masquerading as a mummer, or Aeschylus dressed up in cap and bells.

    Suspended Judgments John Cowper Powys
  • A steamer was bearing my lady-love into the presence of her mummer.

    The Confession of a Fool August Strindberg
  • When Peter reached the place where he had caught a glimpse of mummer, no one was to be seen.

  • He was so much bigger than mummer that it was hard to believe that they were own cousins.

  • The mummer returned quickly; but the majority of the migrants stayed abroad for some time.

  • mummer's they shrunk so she couldn't wear 'em, and Jessy couldn't nuther.

    By the Light of the Soul Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
British Dictionary definitions for mummer


one of a group of masked performers in folk play or mime
a mime artist
(jocular or derogatory) an actor
Word Origin
C15: from Old French momeur, from momer to mime; related to momon mask
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mummer

"one who performs in a mumming, actor in a dumb show," early 15c., probably a fusion of Middle French momeur "mummer" (from Old French momer "mask oneself," from momon "mask") and Middle English mommen "to mutter, be silent," related to mum (interjection).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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