Share this entry

dumbshow Line breaks: dumb|show
Pronunciation: /ˈdʌmʃəʊ/

Definition of dumbshow in English:


[mass noun]
1Gestures used to convey a meaning or message without speech; mime: they demonstrated in dumbshow how the tea should be made
More example sentences
  • When you go to church, it's a hollow, diluted dumbshow: when I go to church, every gesture aches with meaning and immanence.
  • You will never, never, see someone turn right around and walk the way they were going without some accompanying dumbshow that indicates that they're not odd, they've just forgotten something.
  • If there's one thing that's duller than an Academy Awards ceremony, it's the red-carpet dumbshow that precedes it.
1.1 [count noun] A piece of dramatic mime: there were gags, spoofs, and dumbshows
More example sentences
  • He leads a little troupe of amateur actors from village to village, putting on an old-fashioned dumbshow - a type of humorous play with a stock plot.
  • A Modernist and postmodernist epic, in places it performs the play of sestina or sonnet in an absurd or unusual light; it recasts regular and irregular histories, offering speaking parts alongside dumbshow.
  • Now, one reason for not assigning names to the characters in our dumbshow above was to avoid any personal issues entering the discussion.
1.2 [count noun] (Especially in English drama of the 16th and 17th centuries) a part of a play acted in mime to summarize, supplement, or comment on the main action.
Example sentences
  • This second trio of children functions as a dumbshow for the verbalised ‘adult’ drama of the main story.

Words that rhyme with dumbshow


Definition of dumbshow in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day innocuous
Pronunciation: ɪˈnɒkjʊəs
not harmful or offensive