- 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 Nō.
- (initial capital letter) Also called Grand Kabuki. public performances of this type of drama.
Origin of kabuki
Examples from the Web for kabuki
Their righteous outbursts represent an ancient and unctuous form of Kabuki theater.Forget the Wife Beating—Are You Ready for Some Football?
September 11, 2014
All the moralizing and gravitas that accompanies a star player being arrested should be viewed as a form of Kabuki theater.Hey NFL Fans: Ray Rice Isn’t the Problem. You Are.
July 24, 2014
Lunch with Peter Kaplan—a ritual as stylized as Kabuki, minus the face paint.Lunch with Peter Kaplan: Adam Begley Remembers
December 2, 2013
Instead this hate-fueled game of Kabuki continues, and the Pentagon is denied a new leader with a NATO summit just days away.The Republicans’ Ugly and Shameful Chuck Hagel Filibuster
February 15, 2013
This congressional Kabuki is killing us, because it masks a more fundamental problem.Our Pathetic Congress
December 30, 2012
- a form of Japanese drama based on popular legends and characterized by elaborate costumes, stylized acting, and the use of male actors for all rolesSee also No 1
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.