from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A game in which words or phrases are represented in pantomime, sometimes syllable by syllable, until they are guessed by the other players.
  • noun An episode in this game or a word or phrase so represented.
  • noun A readily perceived pretense; a travesty.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An enigma whose solution is a word of two or more syllables, each of which is separately significant in sound, and which, as well as the whole word, must be discovered from a dialogue or description in which it is used, or from dramatic representation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A verbal or acted enigma based upon a word which has two or more significant syllables or parts, each of which, as well as the word itself, is to be guessed from the descriptions or representations.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A specific kind of riddle in which a word or phrase to find is split in several parts that can each be guessed from a verbal clue.
  • noun in plural A party game in which players mime a word or phrase that the other players must try to guess.
  • noun Something apparently real but based on pretence/pretense.

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

  • noun a word acted out in an episode of the game of charades
  • noun a composition that imitates or misrepresents somebody's style, usually in a humorous way


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

[French, probably from Provençal charrado, chat, from charra, to chat, chatter, perhaps from Italian ciarlare.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French charade, of disputed origin.


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  • In wordplay, the concatenation of words to form another word: e.g., the & rein--> therein.

    --Chris Cole, Wordplay

    May 23, 2008

  • US Railway Association, Standard Cipher Code, 1906: "Are you certain?" in railroad telegraphers' shorthand.

    January 21, 2013

  • Teddy Roosevelt is on the hustings in 1906, being interviewed by a journalist via telegraph -

    TR: I've just coined a new word to describe journalists like you. 'Muckraker'! How do you like them apples! So print this. I've heard I'm going to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Now aint that swell!

    Journalist: Charade.

    January 21, 2013