ventriloquy


ventriloquy

noun

  1. the art or practice of speaking, with little or no lip movement, in such a manner that the voice does not appear to come from the speaker but from another source, as from a wooden dummy.

noun

  1. the art of producing vocal sounds that appear to come from another source
n.

1580s, from Late Latin ventriloquus, from Latin venter (genitive ventris) “belly” (see ventral) + loqui “speak” (see locution).

Patterned on Greek engastrimythos, literally “speaking in the belly,” which was not originally an entertainer’s trick but rather a rumbling sort of internal speech, regarded as a sign of spiritual inspiration or (more usually) demonic possession. Reference to the modern activity so called seems to have begun early 18c., and by 1797 it was being noted that this was a curiously inappropriate word to describe throwing the voice.

n.

1773, from ventriloquy + -ism.

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