Pantomime

(3 syl.), according to etymology, should be all dumb show, but in modern practice it is partly dumb show and partly grotesque speaking. Harlequin and Columbine never speak, but Clown and Pantaloon keep up a constant fire of fun. Dr. Clarke says that Harlequin is the god Mercury, with his short sword called “herpe;” he is supposed to be invisible, and to be able to transport himself to the ends of the earth as quick as thought. Columbine, he says, is Psyche (the soul); the old man is Charon; and the Clown Momus (the buffoon of heaven), whose large gaping mouth is an imitation of the ancient masks. (Travels, iv. 459.)

The best Roman pantomimists were Bathylus (a freedman of Maecenas), Pylades, and Hylas

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

More on Pantomime from Fact Monster:

  • pantomime - pantomime pantomime or mime[Gr.,=all in mimic], silent form of the drama in which the story is ...
  • mime - mime: mime: see pantomime.
  • Jean Gaspard Deburau - Deburau or Debureau, Jean Gaspard Deburau or Debureau, Jean Gaspard , 1796–1846, French ...
  • Pierrot - Pierrot Pierrot [Fr.,=little Peter], character in French pantomime. A buffoon, he wore a loose ...
  • John Rich - Rich, John Rich, John, 1692–1761, English actor-manager. Rich introduced pantomime to ...

Related Content