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[pan-tuh-mahym] /ˈpæn təˌmaɪm/
the art or technique of conveying emotions, actions, feelings, etc., by gestures without speech.
a play or entertainment in which the performers express themselves mutely by gestures, often to the accompaniment of music.
significant gesture without speech.
an actor in dumb show, as in ancient Rome.
Also called Christmas pantomime. a form of theatrical spectacle common in England during the Christmas season, generally adapted from a fairy tale and including stock character types who perform songs and dances, tell jokes, etc.
verb (used with object), pantomimed, pantomiming.
to represent or express in pantomime.
verb (used without object), pantomimed, pantomiming.
to express oneself in pantomime.
Origin of pantomime
1580-90; earlier pantomimus < Latin < Greek pantómīmos. See panto-, mime
Related forms
[pan-tuh-mim-ik] /ˌpæn təˈmɪm ɪk/ (Show IPA),
pantomimical, adjective
pantomimically, adverb
pantomimicry, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pantomimic
Historical Examples
  • They were, no doubt, chiefly of a pantomimic and ephemeral kind.

    Art in England

    Dutton Cook
  • Nor must we overlook the effect of dramatic and pantomimic action.

    The Science of Fairy Tales Edwin Sidney Hartland
  • There is a pantomimic magic in the word since the memorable days of Whittington.

    The Book of Christmas Thomas K. Hervey
  • The pantomimic movements of these Indians are all the language of signs.

  • He represented in pantomimic dance the scene of Achilles in the island of Scyros.

    Darkness and Dawn Frederic W. Farrar
  • This is accompanied by a pantomimic threat of extermination.

    It Never Can Happen Again

    William De Morgan
  • In the midst of these pantomimic incidents the novice dies to rise again.

    Comparative Religion J. Estlin Carpenter
  • George arranged by pantomimic signs to meet him at the end of the performance.

    The Road to the Open Arthur Schnitzler
  • As I stepped out, the scene changed with pantomimic celerity.

    Tropic Days E. J. Banfield
  • Jake gave her a pantomimic rebuke that reduced her to a pulpy silence.

    The Cup of Fury Rupert Hughes
British Dictionary definitions for pantomimic


(in Britain)
  1. a kind of play performed at Christmas time characterized by farce, music, lavish sets, stock roles, and topical jokes Sometimes shortened to panto
  2. (as modifier): a pantomime horse
a theatrical entertainment in which words are replaced by gestures and bodily actions
action without words as a means of expression
(in ancient Rome) an actor in a dumb show
(informal, mainly Brit) a confused or farcical situation
another word for mime (sense 5)
Derived Forms
pantomimic (ˌpæntəˈmɪmɪk) adjective
pantomimist (ˈpæntəˌmaɪmɪst) noun
Word Origin
C17: via Latin from Greek pantomīmos; see panto-, mime
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 pantomimic



1610s, "mime actor," from Latin pantomimus "mime, dancer," from Greek pantomimos "actor," literally "imitator of all," from panto- (genitive of pan) "all" (see pan-) + mimos "imitator" (see mime (n.)).

Meaning "drama or play without words" first recorded 1735. The English dramatic performances so called, usually at Christmas and with words and songs and stock characters, are attested by this name from 1739; said to have originated c.1717. Related: Pantomimic; pantomimical.



1768, from pantomime (n.). Related: Pantomimed; pantomiming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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