[ kam-ee-oh ]
See synonyms for cameo on
noun,plural cam·e·os.
  1. 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.

  2. a gem or other stone so engraved.

  1. 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.

  2. 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)
  1. to appear in a cameo role, as in a motion picture: She’s starred or cameoed in five films by the same director.

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

Words Nearby cameo Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use cameo in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cameo


/ (ˈkæmɪˌəʊ) /

nounplural cameos
    • a medallion, as on a brooch or ring, with a profile head carved in relief

    • (as modifier): a cameo necklace

  1. 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

  1. a stone with such an engraving

    • a single and often brief dramatic scene played by a well-known actor or actress in a film or television play

    • (as modifier): a cameo role

    • a short literary work or dramatic sketch

    • (as modifier): a cameo sketch

Origin of 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