Definition of mummer in US English:



  • 1An actor in a traditional masked mime, especially of a type associated with Christmas and popular in England in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

    • ‘On a happier note the young mummers from the village surprised one of their teachers by appearing at her wedding in Monaghan.’
    • ‘You can hardly move for minstrels, mummers and madcaps: the rolling programme of ye olde entertainment includes music from the Singing Plague Victims and have-a-go heraldry for youngsters.’
    • ‘George and the Dragon was played all over the country by bands of mummers, who would blacken their faces with soot and wear animal masks and ragged costumes - some morris dance groups echo these once-pagan traditions today.’
    • ‘The mummers wore oversized, wire-constructed costumes and carried little umbrellas as they mummed along.’
    • ‘Originally they were mummers, performing traditional plays, and they then became known as waits, who would tour the town every evening before Christmas.’
    • ‘While the traditional roles are not always filled by the same mummers, they have their favourites.’
    • ‘Since the Living History Society rekindled the mummers tradition some five years ago the youngsters involved have gone from strength to strength as well as raise funds for various charities.’
    • ‘The young Mummers have gained quite a reputation and they were most recently involved in teaching a group off young people from Derrynoose the mummers rhymes.’
    • ‘And in come the mummers, faces muffled and painted, outlandishly costumed in multicolored skirts, frock coats, long-johns, turned jackets, stuffed pants.’
    • ‘Bulgaria welcomed 2003 with a blend of the modern and the traditional, with revellers jamming open-air concerts and mummers parading to ward off evil spirits.’
    • ‘Carol singing, Morris-men, mummers, community plays are just a few of the traditions under threat from what is seen as an arbitrary piece of legislation.’
    • ‘She told me about a time when the mummers were all getting together after they had been out for a while performing and collecting and they were having what was known as the mummers dance or ball.’
    1. 1.1 A pantomimist.
    2. 1.2derogatory, archaic An actor in the theater.


Late Middle English: from Old French momeur, from momer ‘act in a mime’; perhaps of Germanic origin.