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pageant

[paj-uh nt] /ˈpædʒ ənt/
noun
1.
an elaborate public spectacle illustrative of the history of a place, institution, or the like, often given in dramatic form or as a procession of colorful floats.
2.
a costumed procession, masque, allegorical tableau, or the like forming part of public or social festivities.
3.
a show or exhibition, especially one consisting of a succession of participants or events:
a beauty pageant.
4.
something comparable to a procession in colorful variety, splendor, or grandeur:
the pageant of Renaissance history.
5.
a pretentious display or show that conceals a lack of real importance or meaning.
6.
(in medieval times) a platform or stage, usually moving on wheels, on which scenes from mystery plays were presented.
7.
display or pageantry.
8.
Obsolete. a stage bearing any kind of spectacle.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English pagyn, pagaunt, pagand < Anglo-Latin pāgina a stage for plays, scene, platform, perhaps special use of Latin pāgina page1
Related forms
pageanteer, noun
pageantic
[puh-jan-tik] /pəˈdʒæn tɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for pageant
  • The photographs have not been made public and pageant officials acknowledge they do not know if they even exist.
  • Whatever else carnival may be, it is above all a pageant and no time for tears.
  • Originally a camel trading event, the mela has grown to include cultural events and even a camel beauty pageant.
  • Locals crammed the hilltops surrounding the city's packed amphitheatre, to watch the dancing and the beauty pageant.
  • Her friends are also overly obsessed with a debutante pageant.
  • The round-up includes guided snake hunts, a pageant and dances at night.
  • Biogeography, for instance, offered a great pageant of peculiar facts and patterns.
  • No one should read too much into the beauty pageant that is the primary season, especially this early in the season.
  • Mink-collared grandmothers are settled in firmly, ready to enjoy the pageant.
  • Rich woodlands, emerald pastures and the shimmering waters of the lake below added to a pageant of loveliness.
British Dictionary definitions for pageant

pageant

/ˈpædʒənt/
noun
1.
an elaborate colourful parade or display portraying scenes from history, esp one involving rich costume
2.
any magnificent or showy display, procession, etc
Word Origin
C14: from Medieval Latin pāgina scene of a play, from Latin: page1
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 pageant
n.

late 14c., "play in a cycle of mystery plays," from Medieval Latin pagina, of uncertain origin, perhaps from Latin pagina "page of a book" (see page (n.1)) on notion of "manuscript" of a play.

But an early sense in Middle English also was "stage or scene of a play" (late 14c.) and Klein says a sense of Latin pagina was "movable scaffold" (probably from the etymological sense of "stake"). With excrescent -t as in ancient (adj.). Generalized sense of "showy parade, spectacle" is first attested 1805, though this notion is found in pageantry (1650s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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