Definition of pantomime in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpan(t)əˌmīm/


1A dramatic entertainment, originating in Roman mime, in which performers express meaning through gestures accompanied by music.
Example sentences
  • In a totally unstructured environment, they present this creative explosion through modern dance, mime, pantomime and music with a whole lot of playfulness.
  • In portraying vivid dramatic characters, realistic pantomime plays as important a role as the dance.
  • The vast majority of this movie is told in near pantomime: gestures, facial expressions, and stage direction.
1.1An absurdly exaggerated piece of behavior: he made a pantomime of checking his watch
More example sentences
  • Cameron's posing on a podium on Friday, inviting Lib Dems to join his Tory revolution, was an appropriate piece of pantomime to end Parliament's last full week before Christmas.
  • He attacks Royal Ascot for being an absurdity and a pantomime.
  • The youthful energy and innovation have gone, and his choice of sport is problematic because wrestling is already a theatrical pantomime.
1.2 informal A ridiculous or confused situation or event: the drive to town was a pantomime
More example sentences
  • The room is now illuminated only by the television that paints its own confused pantomime on the walls.
  • Rocky needed a bath and that is a real pantomime as he HATES being washed.
  • Feeding time, for them all, is a real pantomime!
2British A theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, that involves music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and is based on a fairy tale or nursery story, usually produced around Christmas.
Example sentences
  • Hart plays the genie in this raucous take on the British pantomime, a story based on the myth of Aladdin and his magic lamp.
  • They take up residence at the Pavilion Theatre for the annual pantomime of silly jokes and bad wigs in an all new, up-to-date production of Jack and the Beanstalk.
  • He has also written children's plays, pantomimes, comedy sketches and radio commercials and has directed more than 100 productions, spanning everything from Shakespeare to stand-up comedy.


[with object]
Express or represent (something) by extravagant and exaggerated mime: the clown candidates pantomimed different emotions
More example sentences
  • She pantomimed hurt, placing her free hand melodramatically on her breast.
  • I pantomimed opening a letter and smoothing it out.
  • He pantomimed zipping his lips and throwing away the key.



Pronunciation: /ˌpan(t)əˈmimik/
Example sentences
  • That the other characters appear in a pantomimic assortment of costumes will add to a very self-consciously theatrical show.
  • During these dances, members of the audience are invited to come on stage and join in, but their efforts appear pantomimic, introducing a new element of comedy into the ritual aspects of the spectacle.
  • The songs are tuneful, the dances energetic and the performances, while bordering on the pantomimic, still are believable enough to give the show an overall charm it is hard to resist.


Pronunciation: /ˈpan(t)əˌmīmist/
Example sentences
  • He proved a skilled pantomimist, especially in his depiction of the death of John Dillinger.
  • In 1914 when Chaplin entered movies, he was an English pantomimist unknown to American audiences.
  • The President attended a performance by pantomimist Marcel Marceau.


Late 16th century (first used in the Latin form and denoting an actor using mime): from French pantomime or Latin pantomimus, from Greek pantomimos 'imitator of all' (see panto-, mime).

  • This word comes from Greek pantomimos ‘imitator of all’. In Latin pantomimus was used for an actor using mime. This later developed into a comic dramatization with the stock characters of Clown, Pantaloon ( see pantaloons), Harlequin, and Columbine. The familiar panto based on fairy tales such as Mother Goose or Cinderella and involving music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy developed in the 19th century, with a new set of conventional characters including the dame, the principal boy, and the pantomime horse. Mime (early 17th century) and mimic (late 16th century) come from the same root.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pan·to·mime

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