Definition of pageant in English:



  • 1A public entertainment consisting of a procession of people in elaborate, colourful costumes, or an outdoor performance of a historical scene.

    ‘they brought the history books to life at the town's pageant’
    figurative ‘the pageant of public life’
    • ‘The centerpiece of the 1954 Tostal was a historical pageant at Tara.’
    • ‘The colourful pageant marks the start of a country-wide programme of more than 600 entertainments at key historical sites, which aims to attract 10 million visitors.’
    • ‘Street pageants, parades and outdoor concerts have been lined-up to entertain locals and visitors and the street spectacular should not be missed for those who enjoy the magic of performance arts.’
    • ‘The festivities climax tomorrow in a royal state procession and a colourful pageant of music, dance and theatre.’
    • ‘The U.S. Army occasionally used Civil War battlefields for war games, and in the early twentieth century - the era of great historical pageants - battle re-enactments were common.’
    • ‘They have produced full-scale scripted plays, but their outdoor pageants are the breathtaking highlight of the Public Dreams year.’
    • ‘A variety of celebrations are under consideration, including a pageant of the town's history, a statue although the subject continues to be a matter of controversy and a street party for children.’
    • ‘Indigenous dances are used in historical pageants.’
    • ‘With pageants, plays, processions and al fresco films plus wizards, workshops and walks, getting into the mood with some local music, food and drink will be easy.’
    • ‘It's a grand pageant set in elaborate 17th century costumes of wigs, breeches, tights and ruffs.’
    • ‘In the countryside, religious festivals, processions, and pageants take place throughout the year.’
    • ‘The entertainment value of the pageant from the celebrity panel to the colourful performances of the contestants will be able to interest and excite people not only in the show but in the package itself.’
    • ‘A fusion of pageants, marching bands, pomp, ceremony and celebration resurrected the spirit of St Patrick's Day in Dublin yesterday.’
    • ‘The crowds at this year's Puck Fair seemed bigger than usual as locals mingled with tourists and returned emigrants for one of the oldest and most colourful pageants in the country.’
    • ‘It will feature the school band, school choir, dancing as well as a history pageant featuring St. Patrick, King Henry V111, and Famous Irish Women.’
    • ‘Good Friday processions and pageants took place in villages and towns throughout south Wiltshire - and the dry, sunny weather brought out the crowds in their hundreds.’
    • ‘Yesterday, as the 160th Lonach Highland Games were turned into a colourful pageant, Robin Williams took part in the Bellabeg hill race for the third consecutive year.’
    • ‘Haworth celebrated the Jubilee with a historical pageant of tableaux representing such events and personalities of the reign as Amy Johnson and the burial of the Unknown Warrior.’
    • ‘Wanamaker's was known for its stained-glass windows, elaborate store displays, and spectacles including organ concerts, pageants, and storybook characters in show windows.’
    • ‘There, pageants and performances could be presented against the authentic background of Clifford's Tower and the Castle Museum buildings.’
    parade, procession, cavalcade, scene, play, representation, tableau, tableau vivant
    display, spectacle, extravaganza, show
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    1. 1.1Something regarded as a series of interesting and varied events.
      ‘it's all part of life's rich pageant’
      • ‘The FIA Thoroughbred Grand Prix Championship is the ultimate nostalgic motor racing pageant.’
      • ‘Still, it's all part of life's rich pageant, and if it helps me buy a new tent for Glastonbury then it's all to the good.’
      • ‘The first would be that there is nothing special about such a story - it is merely an interesting set of facts, part of life's rich pageant of happenings, and people might be interested in reading the story.’
      • ‘In Morningside, by comparison, there are a blithe number of 80-year-olds for whom the next decade promises a rich pageant of Saga tours and constant cruises.’
      • ‘Champagne and cassis is always welcome but all the more so when the Albert Memorial is a stone's throw away reminding one that life's rich pageant is fleeting and all the better to spend what there is in good company.’
      • ‘The human pageant has been filled with wrong turns, backsliding, and horrible crimes.’
      • ‘The mere fact that both men had a keener-than-average sense of the pageant of history, of their own place in it, was a powerful bond.’
      • ‘I travel on the tube every day and there's an endless pageant of human experience down there; it's full of potential films.’
      • ‘Each day is a pageant of colour and costume, light and pattern, sound and smell; appealing not in a quaint, ethnic way but with its own innate sense of style.’
      • ‘The ‘show’ was more illuminating than the most extravagant fireworks display; a pageant of craftsmanship and beauty.’
    2. 1.2historical A scene erected on a fixed stage or moving vehicle as a public show.
      • ‘In 1576 actor James Burbage built London's first public theater, known simply as The Theatre, which was an open-air structure that combined features of pageant wagons, fixed stages, and banquet halls.’
      • ‘Blocking of major city roads during peak hours and uninhibited use of loud speakers and other accessories for the pageants have raised a hue and cry among the public.’
      • ‘Dublin's St Patrick's Festival parade takes place from noon on Wednesday when 3,500 performers will thrill spectators with a stream of ingeniously designed pageants.’
      tableau vivant, human representation, parade, diorama, scene
      View synonyms
  • 2North American A beauty contest.

    • ‘He uses the money to enter Lisa in a beauty pageant sponsored by a tobacco company, where, through a technicality, she wins.’
    • ‘I asked her once if she was ever in a beauty pageant before.’
    • ‘I hope this pageant can reflect women's strong desire to beautify themselves and seek after their own unique style.’
    • ‘Unlike a traditional beauty pageant the contest is a talent showcase.’
    • ‘Apparently, there are more than a hundred Filipino organizations in Hawaii, and many of them sponsor a beauty pageant to raise funds.’
    • ‘And since we're talking about promoting a beauty pageant, aren't you curious about how these women see themselves?’
    • ‘After entering and winning a Florida beauty pageant, Constance was encouraged to try to pursue a career in acting.’
    • ‘Plans for an American-style beauty pageant featuring children in Manchester have been scrapped after organisers were criticised by councillors.’
    • ‘His daughters, he said, should know their own worth; they didn't need to prove themselves in a beauty pageant.’
    • ‘The Miss World pageant is an international beauty pageant founded in the United Kingdom by Eric Morley in 1951.’
    • ‘A small crowd had gathered and applauded as each contestant arrived for the beginning of the week-long beauty pageant.’
    • ‘Being in a beauty pageant has always appeared to be about good looks and I used to be a detractor but I've learnt that you need to back up the beauty with brains.’
    • ‘The 2003 Tourism Festival kicked off last Friday night with a variety show and the final of a beauty pageant contest in the Suzhou Sports Centre.’
    • ‘Years ago I had a friend who was a beauty pageant contestant.’
    • ‘In the 1990's, the Miss Brazil pageant changed its rules to allow plastic surgery, hair extensions and colored contact lenses.’
    • ‘She reprints a cartoon that shows three women in bathing suits and sashes as if in a Miss America pageant.’
    • ‘Then, for one night, the seamstresses turn into princesses for a unique beauty pageant.’
    • ‘Its angle is to take a group of plain Janes, make them over into glamour girls, and then have them all take part in a season-ending beauty pageant.’
    • ‘The celebrations in Samokov also included a contest between Roma orchestras, a beauty pageant and a football tournament.’
    • ‘Wearing a dress made of pineapple would turn anyone's head - especially those belonging to judges of a beauty pageant.’


Late Middle English pagyn, of unknown origin.