Craig White's Literature Courses

Terms / Themes


Oxford English Dictionary Pageantry 1. Pageants or tableaux collectively; the public performance or display of these. 2.

2. Show without substance; mere acting or show; empty or specious display.

3. Splendid display; gorgeous, colourful, or spectacular show; pomp.



A1a A play in a medieval mystery cycle; an act or scene in such a play. Later also: a play on a religious theme, spec. one modelled on the medieval mystery plays.

3b A brilliant or stately spectacle arranged for effect; esp. a procession or parade with elaborate spectacular display; a showy parade.

3c. fig. An open or complete display of something; (an overview of) the gradual development or passage of historical events, imagined as a procession passing before one's eyes. life's rich pageant: all the variety of human experience.

3d. A commemorative play depicting scenes from history (esp. local history), usually performed outdoors in the form of a procession in elaborate, colourful costumes.

3e orig. and chiefly U.S. A beauty contest



1a Splendid display or celebration; magnificent show or ceremony. Formerly freq. with negative connotation: ostentatious, specious, or boastful show; vainglory (freq. coupled with pride).

2a A triumphal or ceremonial procession or train; a pageant; a splendid show or display along a line of march.


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