1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Charade

CHARADE, a kind of riddle, probably invented in France during the 18th century, in which a word of two or more syllables is divined by guessing and combining into one word (the answer) the different syllables, each of which is described, as an independent word, by the giver of the charade. Charades may be either in prose or verse. Of poetic charades those by W. Mackworth Praed are well known and excellent examples, while the following specimens in prose may suffice as illustrations. “My first, with the most rooted antipathy to a Frenchman, prides himself, whenever they meet, upon sticking close to his jacket; my second has many virtues, nor is its least that it gives its name to my first; my whole may I never catch!” “My first is company; my second shuns company; my third collects company; and my whole amuses company.” The solutions are Tar-tar and Co-nun-drum. The most popular form of this amusement is the acted charade, in which the meaning of the different syllables is acted out on the stage, the audience being left to guess each syllable and thus, combining the meaning of all the syllables, the whole word. A brilliant example of the acted charade is described in Thackeray’s Vanity Fair.