Definition of showman in English:



  • 1A person who produces or presents shows as a profession, especially the proprietor, manager, or MC of a circus, fair, or other variety show.

    ‘showmen inveigled the masses into circuses, fairgrounds, peep shows, theatres’
    • ‘In the carnival, Stanton is the assistant to a phony medium, Madam Zeena, a perfect ancestor of modern showmen like John Edward and Sylvia Browne.’
    • ‘Mr Birch, 29, is the son of a fairground showman and spent his formative years touring fair sites around Yorkshire.’
    • ‘A number toured outback Queensland as travelling showmen later in that century.’
    • ‘A showman might have exploited the discovery by presenting it to an audience and claiming it was evidence of some supernatural agency.’
    • ‘Yimou has the eye of a painter, the grace of a dancer and the flamboyance of a circus showman.’
    • ‘The land is owned by Silcock's, a well-known family of showmen who put on fairs around the North-west.’
    • ‘Lorenzo the Lion-Tamer was James Wilson's great-grandfather and one of the 19th century's great circus showmen - the equivalent of today's football star or pop-singer.’
    • ‘This derives from the case in which two showmen were convicted of keeping a booth on Epsom Downs for the purpose of presenting an indecent exhibition to those who paid.’
    • ‘Between these two extremes there are several mediate varieties - consisting of pedlars, showmen, harvest-men, and all that large class who live by either selling, showing, or doing something through the country.’
    • ‘It all started about 50 years ago, when a few cowboy showmen decided to take an annual practice - the removal of rattlesnakes from their land - and make it into a spectacle.’
    • ‘Early cinema performances were given in tents by travelling fairground showmen, and were then taken up by music-hall proprietors.’
    • ‘A Circus boss told today how children abused customers and attacked showmen's caravans when his show came to York's Knavesmire.’
    • ‘They were acting like circus showmen, and their targets were elderly Atlantic City gambling types.’
    • ‘A substantial number of Italians who came to Britain as entertainers in the early part of the nineteenth century, especially the Punch and Judy showmen, organ grinders and pedlars of the 1840s.’
    • ‘Since a showman has to play a variety of roles in order to make a living, Johnny augmented his repertoire with sideshow lecturing, fire eating, and swallowing swords and neon tubes.’
    • ‘The Upstagers present the light-hearted story of the American showman on July 15-19 at King's Hall.’
    • ‘Mr Birch's father was a showman travelling with fairs, while his mother joined the circus when she was 15.’
    • ‘English Roma, Irish travellers, new travellers, showmen and circus people were all consulted.’
    • ‘Pupils from Werneth School, in Oldham, met the professionals from the Moscow State Circus as the 200-year-old band of Russian showmen rolled into town during their UK tour.’
    • ‘Just one year after the Lumiere brothers gave their first exhibition of projected motion pictures in Paris in 1885, film clips were shown in Shanghai by French and American showmen.’
    impresario, stage manager, publicist
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    1. 1.1 A person skilled at entertaining, theatrical presentation or performance.
      ‘he's a great talker and showman but he lacks depth’
      • ‘This is a showman who loves the performance for its own sake, not just for the status this case will bring him.’
      • ‘We have only to see a skilled showman working his magic to realise how easy it is for the brain to be fooled into thinking the impossible while we are in full possession of our faculties.’
      • ‘When Matsui hears himself characterized as a showman or a performer, he laughs hard and then shakes his head so vigorously it appears his cap might pop off.’
      • ‘It's fair to say that Cowell makes great telly, and a day on the LA set of his show offers ample first-hand evidence of what a brilliant showman he is.’
      • ‘It's our job to entertain, and we're showmen, we put on a show.’
      • ‘Yes, we weren't the greatest vocalist, dancers, or harp players, or anything, but we were good showmen.’
      • ‘Each of these showmen altered the presentation to accommodate changing audiences.’
      • ‘He is a performer - a downbeat and deadpan showman, but a showman nonetheless.’
      • ‘All of which makes one wonder if Smuin isn't too competent for his own good at this point; he is a skilled showman, and audiences love him for it.’
      • ‘King, known for his trademark electric hairdo, is perceived by most of the public as a clown-like showman who, though long-winded, is an entertaining character.’
      • ‘Blackton had failed to keep up with developments in film technique and his films were dramatically unsophisticated, but he was an expert showman.’
      • ‘Like all the best teachers, he was a great showman and his grand round presentations were occasionally enhanced with giant home made models of parasites and their vectors.’
      • ‘A Wall Street operator who was already in his fifties when he moved to London, Schechter is a prodigious talker, a showman and a financial wizard with a gift for innovation.’
      • ‘He was great - of all the people that I know in the entertainment industry he was greatest showman, because he always changed his show.’
      • ‘Dillon was still the consummate showman and since he wasn't obligated to perform his back catalogue, he was able to be himself.’
      • ‘Pugilists, criminals, showmen, and oddballs also captured the public fancy: P. T. Barnum was a great early impresario of this new world of celebrity.’
      • ‘When he gets in the ring he's a real showman, he just comes up to you and shows off.’
      • ‘This is bare-bones, disintegrating-nitrate-to-VHS-to-DVD imaging that does a disservice to the legacy of one of entertainment's truly stellar showmen.’
      • ‘Pete is a born entertainer and showman, thriving on being on stage with the audience under his control.’
      • ‘He was brash, extremely talented and a showman to the press and public, and for him running was an escape from a life that he would have spent working on a farm with his abusive father.’
      entertainer, performer, player, artist, artiste, trouper, star, virtuoso
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