charade (shərādˈ) [key], verbal, written, or acted representation of a word, its syllables, or a number of words. The object is to guess the idea being conveyed. Winthrop M. Praed wrote many of the well-known charades, and a good description of the acted charade is found in Thackeray's Vanity Fair. In the United States a charade acted in pantomime and having a set time limit was popular in the 1930s and 40s and remains a form of home amusement.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.