[ kam-ee-oh ]
/ ˈkæm iˌoʊ /
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noun, plural cam·e·os.
a technique of engraving upon a gem or other stone, as onyx, in such a way that an underlying stone of one color is exposed as a background for a low-relief design of another color.
a gem or other stone so engraved.
a literary sketch, small dramatic scene, or the like, that effectively presents or depicts its subject: His collection of poetry gives us cameos of contemporary life that we can all readily identify with.
Also called cameo role . a minor part played by a prominent performer or celebrity in a single scene of a motion picture, play, or television show.
verb (used without object)
to appear in a cameo role, as in a motion picture: She’s starred or cameoed in five films by the same director.
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of cameo

First recorded in 1400–50; Middle English cameu, cemieus, chamehieux “engraved gem,” from Old French camaieu and Medieval Latin cammaeus, cammeus, camahūtus; further origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use cameo in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cameo

/ (ˈkæmɪˌəʊ) /

noun plural cameos
  1. a medallion, as on a brooch or ring, with a profile head carved in relief
  2. (as modifier)a cameo necklace
an engraving upon a gem or other stone of at least two differently coloured layers, such as sardonyx, so carved that the background is of a different colour from the raised design
a stone with such an engraving
  1. a single and often brief dramatic scene played by a well-known actor or actress in a film or television play
  2. (as modifier)a cameo role
  1. a short literary work or dramatic sketch
  2. (as modifier)a cameo sketch

Word Origin for cameo

C15: from Italian cammeo, of uncertain origin
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