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.


  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)

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

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