cam·eo | \ˈka-mē-ˌō \
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

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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

In the film, Reeves finds himself in an intense romance with Siberian café owner Katya, played by Ana Ularu (Serena, Emerald City), despite a wife (played, in a quick cameo, by Molly Ringwald) back in the United States. Jillian Forstadt, The Hollywood Reporter, "Keanu Reeves Reveals What Drew Him to Genre-Bending 'Siberia'," 12 July 2018 Latin pop singer Sofia Reyes is taking her music to the small screen -- this time with a Jeep commercial also featuring the Mexican native in a cameo. Justino Aguila, Billboard, "Sofia Reyes Makes a Cameo Alongside Her Song '1, 2, 3' in Jeep Commercial: Watch," 2 July 2018 On the urging of Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum, in a short cameo), Congress chooses not to intervene. Anchorage Daily News, "Review: The ‘Jurassic World’ sequel achieves the impossible: It makes dinosaurs boring," 20 June 2018 Trevor Howard, in a brief cameo, at least looked like Wagner. Joseph Horowitz, WSJ, "A Momentous Wagnerian Film," 15 June 2018 When the opportunity arose to squeeze in a last minute celebrity cameo into Deadpool 2, the screenwriters decided to reach out to one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. Mike Miller,, "Brad Pitt Agreed to Cameo in Deadpool 2 Because His Kids Loved the First Movie," 21 May 2018 Jamie Dornan came on in a cameo, and even Shaggy made a surprise appearance via video link. A-LIST, "Social Light: Inside The Old Vic Theatre’s Bicentenary Gala," 15 May 2018 Isabelle is flummoxed by her own gullibility and even more so by the subterfuges of the men (played by, among others, Xavier Beauvois, Nicolas Duvauchelle and, in a cameo at the end, Gérard Depardieu). Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor, "'Let the Sunshine In' is a bit more airy than it needs to be," 4 May 2018 In the strangest cameo of all time (apart from when Jack Osbourne showed up on Dawson's Creek), Andy Cohen arrives in Riverdale to endorse Hermione for mayor. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Riverdale Season 2 Episode 16: Ethel Goes Full Mean Girls on Veronica," 22 Mar. 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for cameo

Last Updated

22 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cameo

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

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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

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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).


a state of commotion or excitement

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