From the wikipedia page, a charade is

A word guessing game [...] in which one player acts out a word or phrase, often by miming similar-sounding words, and the other players guess the word or phrase.

The previous definition is the most recent one, but traditionally a charade was :

A riddle either in verse or prose, of which the listener must guess the meaning, often given syllable by syllable

For example :

My first is a preposition (for)
My next a composition (tune)
My whole is an acquisition (fortune).

Is there a word/group of words in English that means the "traditional charade" without ambiguity and without defining the whole game ?

(Note that in French the word charade only refers to the traditional version of the game)

  • 1
    I think, today, we simply call these "riddles", but of course there are more kinds of riddles than just these charades.
    – Dan Bron
    Jul 26, 2016 at 14:29
  • @DanBron I know "riddles" but I think it is too broad, I am looking for a more specific word
    – Fabich
    Jul 26, 2016 at 14:32
  • 3
    Yeah, I understand, but I think today there is no more specific word, and anyone person-on-the-street you asked to name this game would call it simply a "puzzle". I don't think anyone (here in the US at least) is familiar with this earlier sense of "charades" (as a game).
    – Dan Bron
    Jul 26, 2016 at 14:33
  • 1
    If you used pictures for each syllable, it would be a rebus
    – bib
    Jul 26, 2016 at 15:01
  • "Charade" (when not used metaphorically) has meant a party game for at least 60 years. I think most people would consider this the "traditional" meaning. The party game meaning was well-established by the time of the 1963 movie Charade.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 24, 2016 at 21:01

1 Answer 1



a riddle, the answer to which involves a pun or play on words, as What is black and white and read all over? A newspaper.


  • Sorry it's not what I am looking for
    – Fabich
    Jul 27, 2016 at 9:19

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