cam·​eo | \ ˈka-mē-ˌō How to pronounce cameo (audio) \
plural cameos

Definition of cameo

1a : a gem carved in relief (see relief entry 1 sense 6) especially : a small piece of sculpture on a stone or shell cut in relief in one layer with another contrasting layer serving as background
b : a small medallion (see medallion sense 2) with a profiled head in relief
2 : a carving or sculpture made in the manner of a cameo
3 : a usually brief literary or filmic piece that brings into delicate or sharp relief the character of a person, place, or event his cameos and short commentaries on men and manners— R. T. Dunlop
4 : a small theatrical role usually performed by a well-known actor and often limited to a single scene A major star appears in a cameo in the movie. broadly : a brief appearance or role

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cameo

cameo adjective
cameo verb, transitive + intransitive

Examples of cameo in a Sentence

He has a brief cameo in the film.

Recent Examples on the Web

Lisa Rinna — and even includes a cameo from Andy Cohen! Helen Murphy,, "RHONY's Luann de Lesseps Releases Glamorous Music Video for New Song 'Feelin' Jovani'," 13 June 2019 Before the royals made their grand appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the traditional Royal Air Force flypast, Louis made an adorably grumpy cameo from the window with big sister Princess Charlotte. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Louis Makes His Royal Public Debut at Trooping of the Colour 2019," 8 June 2019 Totally understandable, considering the video packs in important moments from not one but four iconic films and includes an unforgettable cameo from Kris Jenner, which is no small feat. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, ""Thank U, Next" Director on the "Mean Girls" Scene Cut From Ariana Grande's Video," 1 Dec. 2018 The alleged scheme to copy the technology includes a cameo from Michael Milken, the financier who famously pleaded guilty in 1990 to violating securities laws. Sara Randazzo, WSJ, "Bike Maker Peloton Claims Flywheel Copied Its Technology," 13 Sep. 2018 Women like Judith Arcana, 76, a Jane who served as a consultant on the film and also makes a cameo. Kayla Webley Adler, Marie Claire, "'Ask For Jane' Offers a Terrifying Look at a World Without 'Roe v. Wade'," 16 May 2019 Speaking of surprise appearances…Jordyn Woods made a cameo during Jaden Smith’s set. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Best Stage Moments From Coachella 2019," 14 Apr. 2019 Leslie also made a cameo during Harington's hosting gig on Saturday Night Live over the weekend. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kit Harington and Rose Leslie Have a Sweet Night Out in NYC," 9 Apr. 2019 The tabby might have even made a cameo on Adam's Instagram recently, playing in a Gucci shoe box (causal). Blair Donovan, Country Living, "So, Did 'The Voice' Coach Blake Shelton Ever Have a Cat and Did She Actually Die?," 24 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cameo.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of cameo

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for cameo

Middle English camew, from Middle French camau, kamaheu

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cameo

Statistics for cameo

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cameo

The first known use of cameo was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cameo



English Language Learners Definition of cameo

: a small role in a movie, play, etc., that is performed by a well-known actor
: a piece of jewelry that has a carved design shown against a background of a different color

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on cameo

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cameo

Spanish Central: Translation of cameo

Nglish: Translation of cameo for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cameo for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cameo

Comments on cameo

What made you want to look up cameo? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!