[ shuh-reyd; especially British shuh-rahd ]SEE DEFINITION OF charade
Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


He looked on hopelessly, as you look at a charade of which you have not got the key.

And yet people do not get hanged or run through the body for the sake of a charade.

Nancy, who was an inevitable member of the charade, was to be on Tom's side.

It was, he guessed, because of the too tender passage in the charade.

So, one by one, all her nice games were abandoned and only the charade is left.

Mary was to be one of the charade captains and Tom Reynolds the other.

He says he's got a charade, and Milburd will dress up too, and we'll have it before the Lecture.

It was with these that we began, but little by little the word of the charade disappeared.

The audience was already applauding the end of the first charade.

In the evening he proposed that his son and daughter and I should act a charade.


1776, from French charade (18c.), probably from Provençal charrado "long talk, chatter," of obscure origin, perhaps from charrar "to chatter, gossip," of echoic origin. Cf. Italian ciarlare, Spanish charlar "to talk, prattle." Originally not silent, but relying rather on enigmatic descriptions of the words or syllables.

Among the examples given are:

My first makes all nature appear of one face;
At the next we find music, and beauty and grace;
And, if this Charade is most easily read,
I think that the third shou'd be thrown at my head.

[The answer is "snow-ball."]

The silent form, the main modern form, was at first a variant known as dumb charades and at first it was not a speed contest; rather it adhered to the old pattern, and the performing team acted out all the parts in order before the audience team began to guess.

An 1850 book, "Acting Charades," reports that Charades en Action were all the rage in French society, and that "Lately, the game has been introduced into the drawing-rooms of a few mirth-loving Englishmen. Its success has been tremendous." Welsh siarad obviously is a loan-word from French or English, but its meaning of "speak, a talk" is closer to the Provençal original.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.