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(shərād`), 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. PraedPraed, Winthrop Mackworth
, 1802–39, English poet and essayist. A Conservative member of Parliament (1830–32, 1834–39) and an accomplished political satirist, he is best remembered for his graceful light verse—"Letter of Advice," "Molly Mog"—and his
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 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.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a type of riddle. In a charade, a word is divided, usually syllabically, into two or more parts, each of which has its own meaning, for example, vino (“wine”) + grad (“city” or “hail”) for vinograd (“grapes”), or sem’ (“seven”) + ia (“I”) for sem’ia (“family”). Each of the component words is described in the manner of periphrasis.

Practically unknown in folklore, charades originated when writing made word division visually recognizable. They were especially popular in salons in the 17th and 18th centuries, read as poems or acted out.

An anonymous example of a charade follows.

Edva primetnyi cherv’, no dlia mekhov opasnyi

Est’ pervoe moe. Znak v azbuke bezglasnyi—

Vtoroe. A poet i komik-charodei

Est’ tseloesharady sei (Mol’-er).

A worm that’s barely noticeable but dangerous to furs

Is my first part. A mute symbol in the alphabet

Is the second. And a poet and comic wizard

Is the whole of this charade. (Mol’ [”moth”] + er

[a silent letter in Old Russian] = Mol’er [Molière].)

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


an episode or act in the game of charades
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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charade passage pair encounters an intricate task in which each element
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