noun Also, showboater (for defs 2, 3).
a boat, especially a paddle-wheel steamer, used as a traveling theater.
Informal. show-off ( def 1 ).
a person, especially an athlete, who performs in an ostentatiously sensational manner calculated to draw attention; show-off.
verb (used without object)
to perform or behave in an outrageous or spectacular manner.

1865–70, Americanism; show + boat Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
showboat (ˈʃəʊˌbəʊt)
1.  a paddle-wheel river steamer with a theatre and a repertory company
2.  (intr) to perform or behave in a showy and flamboyant way

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1869, "river steamer on which theatrical performances are given," from show (n.) + boat. The verb meaning "to show off" is attested from 1951.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


floating theatre that tied up at towns along the waterways of the southern and midwestern United States, especially along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, to bring culture and entertainment to the inhabitants of river frontiers. The earliest of these entertainment boats were family-owned ventures into regions where theatres had not gone.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
He defies gravity with his jumping-jack flashes, but does not showboat.
River steamboats and showboat anchored at the levee.
Showboat patrons were not partial to sophisticated entertainment.
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