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

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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 During the meal, Bieber’s table also gets a visit from one of his adorable cats, who makes a brief cameo to sniff some of the various dishes. Benjamin Vanhoose,, "Watch Justin Bieber Shove Scooter Braun’s Face Into Plate of Cake in ‘Yummy’ Video Outtake," 6 Jan. 2020 Tomlin’s wedding cameo comes days after the actress fulfilled her promise to get arrested as part of friend and costar Jane Fonda’s Fire Drill Fridays climate change protest. Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times, "Kathy Griffin is now married, thanks to Lily Tomlin," 2 Jan. 2020 Partway through the video, momager Kris Jenner made a surprise cameo just in time for Stormi to start decorating the cookies with colorful icing and candies. Glenn Rowley, Billboard, "A Kardashian Family Khristmas: Kimye Give North $65,000 Present, Sia Performs at Their Party & More," 26 Dec. 2019 Viewers may recall that John made a brief cameo at the end of the first film with his Lara Jean letter in hand, serving as a bit of a cliffhanger and teaser for what's to come. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The sequel to Netflix's 'To All the Boys I've Loved Before' now has an official trailer—with a new guy.," 19 Dec. 2019 Getting back Looney, whose only playing time this season was a 10-minute cameo in the opener, should help stabilize the Warriors’ frontcourt. Connor Letourneau,, "Warriors’ Kevon Looney on track to return Monday vs. Hawks," 1 Dec. 2019 This interactive storytelling performance features costumed characters, plenty of laughs, and even a cameo from Santa's elves. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Gatlinburg Winter Magic Kicks Off Later This Month with Christmas Fun for All Ages," 8 Nov. 2019 After impressive cameo against USC, Blake Stenstrom ready for CU Buffs if called upon + Odell Beckham Jr. has Baker Mayfield’s back, believes Browns close to breakout. Jeff Bailey, The Denver Post, "Cale Makar’s blistering October has him on pace to break Avalanche records," 1 Nov. 2019 Renaissance pope Paul II was a big cameo collector; Napoleon allegedly wore one to his wedding. Vogue, "Rihanna Celebrates the Beauty of Black Women With a Collection of Fenty Cameos," 31 Oct. 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.

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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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Time Traveler for cameo

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for cameo

Last Updated

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cameo.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for cameo


How to pronounce cameo (audio)

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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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).


to insert between existing elements

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