See more synonyms for pantomime on
  1. the art or technique of conveying emotions, actions, feelings, etc., by gestures without speech.
  2. a play or entertainment in which the performers express themselves mutely by gestures, often to the accompaniment of music.
  3. significant gesture without speech.
  4. an actor in dumb show, as in ancient Rome.
  5. 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), pan·to·mimed, pan·to·mim·ing.
  1. to represent or express in pantomime.
verb (used without object), pan·to·mimed, pan·to·mim·ing.
  1. to express oneself in pantomime.

Origin of pantomime

1580–90; earlier pantomimus < Latin < Greek pantómīmos. See panto-, mime
Related formspan·to·mim·ic [pan-tuh-mim-ik] /ˌpæn təˈmɪm ɪk/, pan·to·mim·i·cal, adjectivepan·to·mim·i·cal·ly, adverbpan·to·mim·ic·ry, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pantomiming

Historical Examples of pantomiming

  • "He rather liked this kind of thing," said Paul, pantomiming the action of drinking with his now empty glass.

  • They were all laughing heartily and happily, all talking at once, gesticulating, pantomiming.

    Mrs. Thompson

    William Babington Maxwell

  • Suddenly Mr. Figgins caught sight of a black figure that was pantomiming to him very eagerly in the distance.

  • Terry finally silenced the din by standing on his chair and pantomiming his desire to be heard.


    Charles Goff Thomson

British Dictionary definitions for pantomiming


  1. (in Britain)
    1. a kind of play performed at Christmas time characterized by farce, music, lavish sets, stock roles, and topical jokesSometimes shortened to: panto
    2. (as modifier)a pantomime horse
  2. a theatrical entertainment in which words are replaced by gestures and bodily actions
  3. action without words as a means of expression
  4. (in ancient Rome) an actor in a dumb show
  5. informal, mainly British a confused or farcical situation
  1. another word for mime (def. 5)
Derived Formspantomimic (ˌpæntəˈmɪmɪk), adjectivepantomimist (ˈpæntəˌmaɪmɪst), noun

Word Origin for pantomime

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

Word Origin and History for pantomiming



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