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pan·​to·​mime ˈpan-tə-ˌmīm How to pronounce pantomime (audio)
: an ancient Roman dramatic performance featuring a solo dancer and a narrative chorus
: any of various dramatic or dancing performances in which a story is told by expressive bodily or facial movements of the performers
a ballet that is part dance and part pantomime
: a British theatrical entertainment of the Christmas season based on a nursery tale and featuring topical songs, tableaux, and dances
: conveyance of a story by bodily or facial movements especially in drama or dance
: the art or genre of conveying a story by bodily movements only
pantomimic adjective


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pantomimed; pantomiming

intransitive verb

: to engage in pantomime

transitive verb

: to represent by pantomime

Examples of pantomime in a Sentence

Noun In the game of charades, one player uses pantomime to represent a word or phrase that the other players have to try to guess. We saw pantomimes at the fair. a ballet that is part dance and part pantomime Verb He pantomimed someone talking on the phone.
Recent Examples on the Web
Ricky’s sister, Angelina (Ceci Fernández), has been caring for their father, but is fed up with the experience and is planning to move out, while their macho brother, Ron (Frankie J. Alvarez), shows up occasionally to go through the pantomime of taking their father to work at the auto-body shop. Vulture, 6 June 2023 At the same time, racial and political tensions run like humming electrical cables beneath the pantomime. Neil McRobert, ELLE, 22 June 2023 Set in a traffic jam, the scene played out as a series of insults was lobbed from one driver to the other—and rendered, primarily, through pantomimes. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, 2 Apr. 2023 Rob Howell's set, dotted with piles of lantern rubble and heavy chains that echo Jacob Marley's fate, is an evocative space for the action that relies on pantomime and imagination to create spaces as varying as Scrooge's bedroom and the Cratchit's front door. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 2 Dec. 2021 The legendary performer was in town for a stop on his tour of the theatrical production of the pantomime Mother Goose. Justine Browning,, 22 Apr. 2023 Most spoke Spanish, limiting exchanges to pantomimes of gratitude and gracias. Los Angeles Times, 5 Mar. 2023 Combat can be frantic, with multiple ammunition types to manage and rapid dodges and strafing to initiate, and all of it depends on the player’s ability to pantomime pulling arrows from a quiver and firing the bow in real time. Christopher Cruz, Rolling Stone, 24 Feb. 2023 But a good deal of this production’s enchantment rests in the artful dancing, delightful mix of children’s and adult humor, fabulously communicative pantomime, old-fashioned slapstick, and visual details and surprises. Elaine Schmidt, Journal Sentinel, 12 May 2023
Ellams and Magar take the approach of showing and telling: The actors describe, say, a race between the gods or a basketball final, while also pantomiming it. Vulture, 31 July 2023 Previous performances had involved pantomiming to pre-recorded audio; Birkin had something to prove. Peter Debruge, Variety, 16 July 2023 Public domain Ballroom’s roots reach back to the Antebellum South, when enslaved people would pantomime their masters at dances. José Criales-Unzueta, Vogue, 28 June 2023 Lady Gaga's Harley Quinn appears to be pantomiming her puddin'. Jen Juneau, Peoplemag, 3 Apr. 2023 Both involve reality brushing up against your expectations, not knowing the language, trying to pantomime. Nandini Balial, Vulture, 1 Nov. 2022 Gratitude Researchers believe that that the orangutans can also pantomime stories to reminisce. Joseph Calamia, Discover Magazine, 12 Aug. 2010 Focusing on schools, as opposed to other public spaces, could make for an easier sell to corporations that might pantomime progressive values, but generally avoid substantive politics. Mac Schwerin, The Atlantic, 11 Nov. 2022 Why not offer an instruction or training sequence that asks players to pantomime certain moves, then display a checkmark and play a pleasant tone upon doing it right two or three times? Sam MacHkovech, Ars Technica, 3 May 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pantomime.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

Latin pantomimus, from pant- + mimus mime

First Known Use


1606, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1768, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of pantomime was in 1606

Dictionary Entries Near pantomime

Cite this Entry

“Pantomime.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a performance in which a story is told by expressive movements of the body or face
: expression of information by movements of the body or face
pantomime verb

More from Merriam-Webster on pantomime

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