- The definition of a cameo is jewelry with a plain colored background and a profile carved in portrait in a different color, or a short literary depiction that captures the essence of someone or something, or is a brief appearance in a play, film or television show by someone famous.
- A necklace you wear that has a white face carved in profile set on a blue background is an example of a cameo.
- A short written description that captures what it is like to live in the Caribbean is an example of a cameo.
- When Brad Pitt or some other famous movie star appears for just two or three minutes in the middle of a movie, this is an example of a cameo.
A cameo brooch.Licensed from iStockPhoto
- a carving in relief on certain stratified gems (sardonyx, agate, etc.) or shells so that the raised design, often a head in profile, is usually in a layer of different color from its background
- a gem, shell, etc. so carved
- a minor but well-defined role in a play, film, etc., esp. when performed by a notable actor
- a fine bit of descriptive writing
Origin: Italian cammeo ; from Midieval Latin camaeus, camahutus; ultimately ; from uncertain or unknown; perhaps Persian chumāhän, agate
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
noun pl. cam·e·os
- a. A gem or shell carved in relief, especially one in which the raised design and the background consist of layers of contrasting colors.b. The technique of carving in this way.c. A medallion with a profile cut in raised relief.
- A brief vivid portrayal or depiction: a literary cameo.
- A brief appearance of a prominent actor, as in a single scene of a motion picture. Also called cameo role.
- To make into or like a gem or shell carved in relief.
- To portray in sharp, delicate relief, as in a literary composition.
Origin: Italian cameo and Middle English cameu (from Old French camaieu and Medieval Latin camahūtus).