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  1. a person who wears a mask or fantastic costume while merrymaking or taking part in a pantomime, especially at Christmas and other festive seasons.
  2. an actor, especially a pantomimist.

Origin of mummer

First recorded in 1400–50, mummer is from the late Middle English word mommer. See mum2, -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mummer

Historical Examples

  • He had at hand a surer ladder to fame than the mummer's art.

    The Man Shakespeare

    Frank Harris

  • They ought at least, to give us a moorish dance, or some other mummer!

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

  • A steamer was bearing my lady-love into the presence of her mummer.

    The Confession of a Fool

    August Strindberg

  • He was so much bigger than Mummer that it was hard to believe that they were own cousins.

British Dictionary definitions for mummer


  1. one of a group of masked performers in folk play or mime
  2. a mime artist
  3. jocular, or derogatory an actor

Word Origin

C15: from Old French momeur, from momer to mime; related to momon mask
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

Word Origin and History for mummer


"one who performs in a mumming, actor in a dumb show," early 15c., probably a fusion of Middle French momeur "mummer" (from Old French momer "mask oneself," from momon "mask") and Middle English mommen "to mutter, be silent," related to mum (interjection).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper