Definition of dumbshow in English:



mass noun
  • 1Gestures used to convey a meaning or message without speech; mime.

    ‘they demonstrated in dumbshow how the tea should be made’
    • ‘When you go to church, it's a hollow, diluted dumbshow: when I go to church, every gesture aches with meaning and immanence.’
    • ‘You will never, never, see someone turn right around and walk the way they were going without some accompanying dumbshow that indicates that they're not odd, they've just forgotten something.’
    • ‘If there's one thing that's duller than an Academy Awards ceremony, it's the red-carpet dumbshow that precedes it.’
    • ‘I, naturally enough, would be present to move this dumbshow on a bit.’
    • ‘It's all some big dumbshow and we're just Zen comedians.’
    • ‘Sadly, it seems that for much of our uncertain times the conversation between art and science remains a dumbshow.’
    • ‘A scene between her and a man plays out in a dumbshow in a doorway, like a ritualistic re-enactment of an everyday scene.’
    dumb show, pantomime, mummery
    1. 1.1count noun A piece of dramatic mime.
      ‘there were gags, spoofs, and dumbshows’
      • ‘He leads a little troupe of amateur actors from village to village, putting on an old-fashioned dumbshow - a type of humorous play with a stock plot.’
      • ‘A Modernist and postmodernist epic, in places it performs the play of sestina or sonnet in an absurd or unusual light; it recasts regular and irregular histories, offering speaking parts alongside dumbshow.’
      • ‘Now, one reason for not assigning names to the characters in our dumbshow above was to avoid any personal issues entering the discussion.’
      • ‘But it isn't exactly a hand-me-down Christmas panto dumbshow either.’
      • ‘The whole thing could almost be played as a dumbshow, with flourishes of grand guignol.’
      • ‘Then, with not enough Gentlemen available, the revelation at the court of Sicilia was reduced to a dumbshow with voice-over (not at all a bad one, mind).’
    2. 1.2count noun (especially in English drama of the 16th and 17th centuries) a part of a play acted in mime to summarize, supplement, or comment on the main action.
      ‘This second trio of children functions as a dumbshow for the verbalised ‘adult’ drama of the main story.’