Cameo Definition

cameoed, cameoing, cameos
A carving as on certain stratified gems (sardonyx, agate, etc.) or shells, in which the raised design is in a layer of different color from its background.
Webster's New World
The technique of carving in this way.
American Heritage
A piece of jewelry so carved, traditionally depicting a head in profile.
Webster's New World
A medallion with a profile cut in raised relief.
American Heritage
A minor but well-defined role in a play, film, etc., esp. when performed by a notable actor.
Webster's New World
To make into or like a gem or shell carved in relief.
American Heritage
To appear in a cameo role.
Webster's New World
To portray in sharp, delicate relief, as in a literary composition.
American Heritage
To make a brief appearance, as in a film.
She cameoed as Anne Boleyn in A Man for All Seasons.
American Heritage

Other Word Forms of Cameo



Origin of Cameo

  • From Italian cammeo. The movie sense is short for “cameo role” referring to a famous person who was playing no character, but him or herself. Like a cameo brooch — a low-relief carving of a person’s head or bust — the actor or celebrity is instantly recognizable. More recently, it has come to refer to any short appearances, whether as a character or as oneself.

    From Wiktionary

  • Italian cameo Middle English cameu (from Old French camaieu) (and Medieval Latin camahūtus)

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

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