Definition of pantomime noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈpæntəmaɪm//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈpæntəmaɪm//
    Types of play
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  1. 1(also British English, informal panto) [countable, uncountable] (in Britain) a type of play with music, dancing and jokes, that is based on a fairy tale and is usually performed at Christmas We took the children to a pantomime. He has also appeared in pantomime. the pantomime season CulturepantomimePantomimes, also called pantos, are traditionally put on in theatres throughout Britain for several weeks before and after Christmas. Most are intended for children. They are a British tradition which has developed over several centuries. A pantomime combines a fairy tale with comedy, music and singing, acrobatics and verse. Among the most popular stories are Aladdin, Babes in the Wood, Cinderella, Dick Whittington and, Jack and the Beanstalk.The audience usually takes an active part in a performance: characters on stage speak to the audience directly and they shout back their answer. Sometimes they have noisy arguments, exchanging shouts of ‚Oh yes, it is‘ and ‚Oh no, it isn't‘. Audiences are often encouraged to join in the singing, and to boo loudly whenever a bad character appears. Other pantomime traditions include that of the hero, called the principal boy, being played by a young woman, and a comic old woman, called a dame, being played by a male comedian. Pantomimes often also include several animal characters played by actors in animal costume.Many of the most successful pantomimes performed in professional theatres have well-known television or sports personalities playing leading roles. Hundreds of amateur pantomimes are also put on each year.Pantomimes of this kind do not exist in the US where the word pantomime means a play or entertainment performed without words. See related entries: Types of play
  2. 2[uncountable, countable, usually singular] the use of movement and the expression of your face to communicate something or to tell a story synonym mime a magical tale told through pantomime and song When I finally arrived, he made a pantomime of checking his watch and shaking it in disbelief.
  3. 3[countable, usually singular] (British English) a ridiculous situation, usually with a lot of confusion synonym farce The company’s board meetings had become a pantomime and no decisions were ever made.
  4. Word Originlate 16th cent. (first used in the Latin form and denoting an actor using mime): from French pantomime or Latin pantomimus, from Greek pantomimos ‘imitator of all’ (from panto- ‘all, universal’ and mime).
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: pantomime

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