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[kah-boo-kee, kuh-, kah-boo-kee] /kɑˈbu ki, kə-, ˈkɑ bu ki/
popular drama of Japan, developed chiefly in the 17th century, characterized by elaborate costuming, rhythmic dialogue, stylized acting, music, and dancing, and the performance of both male and female roles by male actors.
Compare .
(initial capital letter). Also called Grand Kabuki. public performances of this type of drama.
Origin of kabuki
1895-1900; < Japanese: orig., as v., to act dissolutely; usually written with phonograms that carry the meanings “song-dance-skill” Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for kabuki


a form of Japanese drama based on popular legends and characterized by elaborate costumes, stylized acting, and the use of male actors for all roles See also No1
Word Origin
Japanese, from ka singing + bu dancing + ki art
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for kabuki

1896, from Japanese, popular theater (as opposed to shadow puppet-plays or lyrical Noh dramas), literally "art of song and dance," from ka "song" + bu "dance" + ki "art, skill" [Barnhart, OED]. Alternative etymology (in Webster's) is from nominal form of kabuku "to be divergent, to deviate," from early opinion of this form of drama. Since c.1650, all parts are played by males.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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