ven·​tril·​o·​quist | \ ven-ˈtri-lə-kwist How to pronounce ventriloquist (audio) \

Definition of ventriloquist

: one who uses or is skilled in ventriloquism especially : one who provides entertainment by using ventriloquism to carry on an apparent conversation with a hand-manipulated dummy

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Other Words from ventriloquist

ventriloquistic \ (ˌ)ven-​ˌtri-​lə-​ˈkwi-​stik How to pronounce ventriloquist (audio) \ adjective

Examples of ventriloquist in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Magic Richard Attenborough directed and William Goldman wrote the most unforgettable horror film about a killer ventriloquist’s dummy ever made. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The 30 Best Horror Movies on HBO Max," 8 Jan. 2021 This year features singers, dancers, comedians, contortionists, impressionists, magicians, ventriloquists and other hopefuls competing for a $1 million prize. oregonlive, "America’s Got Talent: Season 15, Episode 1 time, TV channel, how to watch free live stream online (5/26/2020)," 27 May 2020 This year promises features singers, dancers, comedians, contortionists, impressionists, magicians, ventriloquists and other hopefuls competing for a $1 million prize. Kathy Passero, al, "‘America’s Got Talent’ season 15 premiere | How to watch, TV channel, streaming," 26 May 2020 Basically, each of them got a chance to turn the other into a human ventriloquist dummy. Rachel Yang,, "Ashton Kutcher describes Mila Kunis' morning bowel movements in Tonight Show voice swap game," 5 May 2020 Musicians and film types who had never previously uttered a word about the European Union suddenly became ventriloquists of the status quo and Cassandras of the future. Douglas Murray, National Review, "After Brexit, Britain Carries On," 20 Feb. 2020 What do sheep shearers, rehab specialists, ventriloquists, medical transcriptionists, face-paint artists and test proctors have in common? Carolyn Said,, "From horse handlers to tutors, California gig law AB5 frustrates contractors," 10 Feb. 2020 In addition to Farmer, two other ventriloquists have won the show, Terry Fator (season two) and Paul Zerdin (season ten). Ross Raihala, Twin Cities, "‘America’s Got Talent’ champ Darci Lynne Farmer to headline Minnesota State Fair Grandstand," 2 Dec. 2019 In line with its 80s pastiche, AJ and the Queen relies on some tired stereotypes and Borscht Belt-y punchlines (this is Michael Patrick King after all, the punny ventriloquist behind Carrie Bradshaw). Robyn Bahr, The Hollywood Reporter, "'AJ and the Queen': TV Review," 10 Jan. 2020

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

circa 1656, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ventriloquist

Late Latin ventriloquus "person who appears to produce speech sounds from within his or her body (as during spirit possession or under control of a deity)" (from Latin ventr-, venter "belly, abdomen" + -i- -i- + -loquus, agent derivative of loquī "to speak") + -ist entry 1 — more at venter, eloquent

Note: The Late Latin word was coined as a translation of Greek engastrímythos.

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Time Traveler for ventriloquist

Time Traveler

The first known use of ventriloquist was circa 1656

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Statistics for ventriloquist

Last Updated

18 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ventriloquist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for ventriloquist



English Language Learners Definition of ventriloquist

: a performer who is able to speak in a way that makes it appear that the words are being said by a large doll (called a dummy)


ven·​tril·​o·​quist | \ ven-ˈtri-lə-kwəst How to pronounce ventriloquist (audio) \

Kids Definition of ventriloquist

: a person skilled in speaking in such a way that the voice seems to come from a source other than the speaker

More from Merriam-Webster on ventriloquist

Nglish: Translation of ventriloquist for Spanish Speakers

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