Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A masked or costumed merrymaker, especially at a festival.
  • n. One who acts or plays in a pantomime.
  • n. An actor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person who dons a disguising costume, as for a parade or a festival.
  • n. An actor in a pantomime; one who communicates entirely through gesture and facial expression.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who mumms, or makes diversion in disguise; a masker; a buffon.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who mums, or masks himself and makes diversion in disguise; a masker; a masked buffoon; specifically, in England, one of a company of persons who go from house to house at Christmas performing a kind of play, the subject being generally St. George and the Dragon, with sundry whimsical adjuncts.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an actor who communicates entirely by gesture and facial expression

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French momeur, from momer, to wear a mask, pantomime.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French momeur, from momer: "to wear a mask." (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Then, summoning the wild courage of despair, a throng of the revellers at once threw themselves into the black apartment, and, seizing the mummer, whose tall figure stood erect and motionless within the shadow of the ebony clock, gasped in unutterable horror at finding the grave-cerements and corpse-like mask which they handled with so violent a rudeness, untenanted by any tangible form.

    Nevermore

  • But the mummer had gone so far as to assume the type of the Red Death.

    Nevermore

  • It was just a closet dowel rod painted white, with battery-powered LED Christmas lights wrapped around it - at the top I put some ragged pieces of cloth like the Medieval mummer plays we did in England when I was a kid.

    a patient etherised upon a table

  • When he was not playing the libertine, he was the buffoon or mummer.

    The Stream and The Torrent

  • Another senile mummer in the whitehouse setting insane foreign policy.

    Thompson: Saddam "Clearly" Had WMD And A Nuke Program

  • There is George, squaring up to the king and bellowing his script like a mummer.

    The White Queen

  • He is more likely some fool or mummer pretending as a favor.

    The White Queen

  • She helped me to finance a car loan, before I went off the Troupe of American College Players in Grand Lake, Colorado, in my first paying stint as a mummer stock actor - room and board and $25.00 a week!

    "A Ghost of Christmas Past"

  • (Germ. = larva), and signifies disguise in a mask, hence a mummer.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • ‘I am sure,’ giggled Flora, tossing her head with a caricature of her girlish manner, such as a mummer might have presented at her own funeral, if she had lived and died in classical antiquity,

    Little Dorrit

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Comments

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  • Naturally.

    June 25, 2008

  • With yellow mustard?

    June 25, 2008

  • Would a soft pretzel tide you over, dontcry?

    June 25, 2008

  • r - Thanks a lot -- now I want a cheesesteak and I just had a salad for lunch! ;-)

    June 24, 2008

  • I wonder if mumble is related.

    June 24, 2008

  • Here's how I think of this.

    June 24, 2008

  • Do you think this is as in 'keep mum'?

    June 22, 2008

  • Citation on stroboscopically.

    June 22, 2008