Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word


noun [uncountable] / adjective

a form of entertainment in which a person acts out scenes from a film by reading lines from a monitor, whilst the film scenes are playing silently in the background

'Karaoke's offspring, Movieoke, hits NYC … Frustrated thespians can act along with their favorite films.'

Reuters News 12th February 2004

'The opportunity to mouth "You talkin' to me?" from Taxi Driver and "Go ahead, punk, make my day" from Dirty Harry has long been irresistible. The surprise is that movieoke, a twist on the karaoke sing-along craze, has only just arrived.'

Times Online 1st February 2004

We're already familiar with the concept of karaoke, the craze of singing popular songs from a monitor while recorded music is played. Now, budding performers can move one step further by not only singing, but also acting out the roles of their favourite movie stars, as they enter the world of movieoke.

as well as acting, participants can enjoy dancing and even playing out fight scenes from cult movies such as The Matrix

Movieoke is a craze which emerged only very recently in the USA, and is just beginning to take off in other parts of the world. It originated in the autumn of 2003 in The Den of Cin, a New York basement bar located below a video store offering a huge selection of films for potential punters to act along with. The manager of the bar, Anastasia Fite, claims to have 'invented' movieoke, though the more widespread use of DVDs has undoubtedly been a catalyst for the idea, DVD technology providing subtitles and giving participants easy access to their favourite film scenes. As well as acting, participants can enjoy dancing and even playing out fight scenes from cult movies such as The Matrix. The computing industry is just beginning to exploit the commercial potential of this idea, one software firm having recently launched a 'movie karaoke' CD-ROM, which allows users to act out scenes in the comfort of their own home, using a PC and a microphone.

Like karaoke, the term movieoke is used adjectivally, e.g. movieoke bar/party/star. The terms Movieoke and a currently less common alternative, Cinemoke, have already been registered as trademarks.

Background – movieoke

The term movieoke is a blend of the words movie and karaoke, the 'sing-along' form of entertainment that originated in Japan in the 1970s and became popular throughout Europe and the United States during the 1990s. The word karaoke is based on the Japanese kara, meaning 'empty' (and appearing in words like karate, literally 'empty hand') and oke which is short for 'orchestra'. The term therefore literally means 'empty orchestra'. In karaoke, the user is prompted by a monitor whilst music, minus vocals, plays in the background. In movieoke, a movie scene is projected onto a big screen behind the user, whilst the monitor shows the same scene together with subtitled dialogue.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 2nd April 2004.

Open Dictionary

snap election

a general election … that is called earlier than expected

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog