1. An elaborate public dramatic presentation that usually depicts a historical or traditional event.
a. A spectacular procession or celebration, especially one involving costumed performers or contestants.
b. A beauty contest.
3. A usually pompous or ostentatious display or sequence: "[She] looks on at the pageant of make-believe affections: mannered smiles, overblown handshakes" (Michael Lowenthal).
[Middle English pagin, pagent, moveable stage for a mystery play, mystery play, alteration of Medieval Latin pāgina, probably from Latin, page; see pag- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus