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[pan-tuh-mahym] /ˈpæn təˌmaɪm/
the art or technique of conveying emotions, actions, feelings, etc., by gestures without speech.
a play or entertainment in which the performers express themselves mutely by gestures, often to the accompaniment of music.
significant gesture without speech.
an actor in dumb show, as in ancient Rome.
Also called Christmas pantomime. a form of theatrical spectacle common in England during the Christmas season, generally adapted from a fairy tale and including stock character types who perform songs and dances, tell jokes, etc.
verb (used with object), pantomimed, pantomiming.
to represent or express in pantomime.
verb (used without object), pantomimed, pantomiming.
to express oneself in pantomime.
Origin of pantomime
1580-90; earlier pantomimus < Latin < Greek pantómīmos. See panto-, mime
Related forms
[pan-tuh-mim-ik] /ˌpæn təˈmɪm ɪk/ (Show IPA),
pantomimical, adjective
pantomimically, adverb
pantomimicry, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pantomime
  • Sometimes they pantomime the copious drinking of wine.
  • One at a time, have volunteers stand and pantomime each shape.
  • Even their warfare was a weary pantomime.
  • But the debate quickly drifted into pantomime.
  • He must interpret through voice, gesture, pantomime for the audience.
  • Most actors did so only in pantomime.
  • No need for pantomime on the greatest stage.
  • It is very important for me not to use (or minimally use) pantomime in my choreography.
  • He becomes her ''Joey dearest,'' a reference to a popular pantomime clown.
  • With pantomime of lips and eyes.
British Dictionary definitions for pantomime


(in Britain)
  1. a kind of play performed at Christmas time characterized by farce, music, lavish sets, stock roles, and topical jokes Sometimes shortened to panto
  2. (as modifier): a pantomime horse
a theatrical entertainment in which words are replaced by gestures and bodily actions
action without words as a means of expression
(in ancient Rome) an actor in a dumb show
(informal, mainly Brit) a confused or farcical situation
another word for mime (sense 5)
Derived Forms
pantomimic (ˌpæntəˈmɪmɪk) adjective
pantomimist (ˈpæntəˌmaɪmɪst) noun
Word Origin
C17: via Latin from Greek pantomīmos; see panto-, mime
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 pantomime

1610s, "mime actor," from Latin pantomimus "mime, dancer," from Greek pantomimos "actor," literally "imitator of all," from panto- (genitive of pan) "all" (see pan-) + mimos "imitator" (see mime (n.)).

Meaning "drama or play without words" first recorded 1735. The English dramatic performances so called, usually at Christmas and with words and songs and stock characters, are attested by this name from 1739; said to have originated c.1717. Related: Pantomimic; pantomimical.


1768, from pantomime (n.). Related: Pantomimed; pantomiming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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