pag·​eant | \ ˈpa-jənt How to pronounce pageant (audio) \

Definition of pageant

1a : a mere show : pretense
b : an ostentatious display
2 : show, exhibition especially : an elaborate colorful exhibition or spectacle often with music that consists of a series of tableaux, of a loosely unified drama, or of a procession usually with floats

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for pageant


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of pageant in a Sentence

They disagreed with the pageant judges. Their church puts on an annual Christmas pageant.
Recent Examples on the Web From a high angle, with bells pealing all over, the scene resembles a pageant of Russian glory. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The Drenching Richness of Andrei Tarkovsky," 8 Feb. 2021 Directed by Phillipa Lowthorpe, the movie recounted an actual protest staged by the burgeoning women’s liberation movement at the 1970 Miss World pageant in London. Anne Cohen,, "Keira Knightley Is Calling Out “Horrible” Sex Scenes," 25 Jan. 2021 Usually, Pastor Colin Mathewson and his team would be planning right up until Christmas day, organizing a pageant for the kids, putting out poinsettias, memorizing holiday songs and preparing a major feast. Joshua Emerson Smith, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Refugee church community pulls together for Christmas as pandemic takes its toll," 24 Dec. 2020 Flanigan says her modeling background came in handy for her first real pageant, competing for Miss Alabama USA. Mary Colurso |, al, "Miss Alabama USA on her hometown: ‘Cullman has come a long way’," 18 Jan. 2021 On the afternoon of Saturday, October 22, 2005, Tara had helped younger contestants prepare for a local beauty pageant. Alec Sirken, CBS News, "Was a beauty queen-turned-teacher murdered by a former student from her school?," 1 Jan. 2021 The moms were starting to arrive at the school for the pageant. Rachel Bloom, Glamour, "Rachel Bloom: Okay, Now I’ll Talk About the OCD Thing," 13 Nov. 2020 And to Yosemite National Park for its storied Bracebridge Dinner Christmas pageant. San Diego Union-Tribune, "For one Catholic priest, this Christmas closes a chapter but opens another," 20 Dec. 2020 The Latino Theater Company streams an archival performance of this large-scale pageant, normally staged at L.A.'s Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, which re-creates the Virgin Mary’s visitations with peasant Juan Diego in 16th century Mexico. Los Angeles Times, "The ultimate holiday shows list: 81 ‘Christmas Carols,’ ‘Nutcrackers’ and more," 11 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pageant.' 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 pageant

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for pageant

Middle English pagyn, padgeant, literally, scene of a play, from Anglo-French pagine, pagent, from Medieval Latin pagina, perhaps from Latin, page

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pageant

Time Traveler for pageant

Time Traveler

The first known use of pageant was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for pageant

Last Updated

21 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pageant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pageant



English Language Learners Definition of pageant

: a play or performance made of scenes from a historical event or a legend


pag·​eant | \ ˈpa-jənt How to pronounce pageant (audio) \

Kids Definition of pageant

1 : a grand and fancy public ceremony and display
2 : an entertainment made up of scenes based on history or legend a Christmas pageant
3 : a contest in which a group of women or girls are judged a beauty pageant

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on pageant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pageant

Nglish: Translation of pageant for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about pageant

Comments on pageant

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


Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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