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

  • noun Communication by means of gesture and facial expression.
  • noun The telling of a story without words, by means of bodily movements, gestures, and facial expressions.
  • noun A play, dance, or other theatrical performance characterized by such wordless storytelling.
  • noun An ancient Roman theatrical performance in which one actor played all the parts by means of gesture and movement, accompanied by a narrative chorus.
  • noun A player in such a performance.
  • noun A traditional British Christmas entertainment for children, usually based on nursery tales and featuring stock characters in costume who sing, dance, and perform skits.
  • intransitive verb To represent or express by pantomime.
  • intransitive verb To express oneself in pantomime.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One who expresses his meaning by action without words; a player who employs only action—mimicry, gestures, movements, and posturing—in presenting his part.
  • noun under the Roman empire, a kind of spectacular play resembling the modern “ballet of action,” in which the functions of the actor were confined to gesticulation and dancing, the accompanying text being sung by a chorus; in modern times, any play to plot of which is expressed by mute gestures, with little or no dialogue; hence, expression of anything by gesture alone: as, he made know his wants in pantomime.
  • noun A popular theatrical entertainment of which many are produced in Great Britain about the Christmas season, usually consisting of two parts, the first or burlesque being founded on some popular fable, the effects being heightened by gorgeous scenery and catching music, and the second, or harlequinade, consisting almost wholly of the tricks of the clown and pantaloon and the dancing of harlequin and columbine.
  • Representing only in mute action.

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

  • adjective Representing only in mute actions; pantomimic.
  • noun obsolete A universal mimic; an actor who assumes many parts; also, any actor.
  • noun One who acts his part by gesticulation or dumb show only, without speaking; a pantomimist; a mime.
  • noun A dramatic representation by actors who use only dumb show; a depiction of an event, narrative, or situation using only gestures and bodily movements, without speaking; hence, dumb show, generally.
  • noun A dramatic and spectacular entertainment of which dumb acting as well as burlesque dialogue, music, and dancing by Clown, Harlequin, etc., are features.

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

  • verb transitive To gesture without speaking.
  • verb transitive To entertain others by silent gestures or actions.

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

  • verb act out without words but with gestures and bodily movements only
  • noun a performance using gestures and body movements without words


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

[Latin pantomīmus, a pantomimic actor, from Greek pantomīmos : panto-, all (from pās, pant-; see pan–) + mīmos, mime.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Circa 17th century, from Latin pantomīmus, from Ancient Greek παντόμιμος (pantomimos), from πᾶς (pas, "each, all") + μιμέομαι (mimeomai, "I mimic").


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  • On my word, what you call the pantomime of beggars is only the whole huge bustle of the earth ....

    Diderot and the Encyclopædists Volume II. John Morley 1880

  • Mirabeau himself was indignant with what he called a pantomime; for he said that Ministers had no right to screen their own responsibility behind the inviolate throne.

    Lectures on the French Revolution John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton Acton 1868

  • Their pantomime is ruthless and restive, always craving more but instantly jaded.

    Herta Müller - Nobel Lecture 2009

  • A scholarly edition of the Obi pantomime is forthcoming from Romantic Circles, edited by Jeffrey N. Cox.

    About this Volume 2002

  • While on the same page, he looked up the definition of pantomime.

    Hearts STEF ANN HOLM 2001

  • While on the same page, he looked up the definition of pantomime.

    Hearts STEF ANN HOLM 2001

  • While on the same page, he looked up the definition of pantomime.

    Hearts STEF ANN HOLM 2001

  • While on the same page, he looked up the definition of pantomime.

    Hearts STEF ANN HOLM 2001

  • "My folks!" he explained to her in pantomime, the suspicion of a complacent twinkle in his eye.

    The Mystery at Number Six 1922

  • They tried also to comfort her by saying in pantomime that some day her godmother might send them to bear her home again, and lift the enchantment that bound her.

    The Golden Apple Tree 1920


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  • WeirdNET: 'a performance using gestures and body movements without words'.

    Oh no it isn't! (Though a mime is.)

    Edit: actually, uses a similar primary definition. Is this a 'rest of the world' thing?

    December 8, 2007

  • Hm, that doesn't look that weird to me, from where I sit in New Jersey, USA. Are you thinking of this meaning?

    December 9, 2007

  • Exactly that. Oh well, I learnt something today.

    December 9, 2007

  • Pantomime in the sense of Cinderella, Aladdin, etc. is a foreign concept to U.S. Americans. At least I never heard of it in that sense until I started watching the BBC.

    December 9, 2007

  • Also see Pantomime.

    August 8, 2011