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Charades Print E-mail

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Charades or charade is a word guessing game. In the form most commonly played today, it is an acting game in which one player acts out a word or phrase, often by pantomiming similar-sounding words, and the other players guess the word or phrase. The idea is to use physical rather than verbal language to convey the meaning to another party.

Rules of the acted charade
The rules of the acted charades used vary widely and informally, but these rules, in some form, are common to most players:

The players divide into two teams.
Each player writes a phrase on a slip of paper to create the phrases to be guessed by the other team provided with a randomly selected word or phrase in secret (usually on a slip of paper drawn from a container), and then has a limited period of time in which to convey this to his teammates.
No sounds or lip movements are allowed. In some circles, even clapping is prohibited, while in others, the player may make any sound other than speaking or whistling a recognisable tune.
The actor cannot point out at any of the objects present in the scene, if by doing so he is helping his teammates.
Usually, any gesture is allowed other than blatantly spelling out the word, but some play that indicating anything about the form of the phrase is prohibited, even the number of words, so that only the ' may be acted out.
The teams alternate until each team member has had an opportunity to pantomime.
Since so many rules can vary, clarifying all the rules before the game begins can avoid problems later.

Standard signals
A number of standard signals have come into common usage in charades, though they are not required. To indicate the general category of a word or phrase:

  • Person - Stand with hands on hips.
  • Book title  - Unfold your hands as if they were a book.
  • Movie title - Pretend to crank an old-fashioned movie camera.
  • Play title - Pretend to pull the rope that opens a theater curtain.
  • Song title - Pretend to sing.
  • TV show - Draw a rectangle to outline the TV screen.
  • Quote or phrase -Make quotation marks in the air with your fingers.
  • Location - Make a circle with one hand, then point to it, as if pointing to a dot on a map.
  • Event - Point to your wrist as if you were wearing a watch.
  • "Think!" - Make the "crazy" signal, i.e. point to your head and wave your finger in a circle.
    Computer Game  - Using both hands out stretched move thumbs like using a gamepad.
  • Website - Hold your hand out, palm down, horizontal to the ground (as if holding a computer mouse). Make a sweeping motion side to side, as if moving a coconut half on table ("navigating"), then stop and tap index finger (as if "clicking").

To indicate other characteristics of the word or phrase:

  • Number of words in the phrase  - Hold up the number of fingers.
  • Which word you're working on - Hold up the number of fingers again.
  • Number of syllables in the word - Lay the number of fingers on your arm.
  • Which syllable you're working on  - Lay the number of fingers on your arm again.
  • Length of word - Make a "little" or "big" sign as if you were measuring a fish.
  • "The entire concept" - Sweep your arms through the air.
  • "On the nose" (i.e., someone has made a correct guess) - Point at your nose with one hand, while pointing at the person with your other hand.
    "Sounds like"  - Cup one hand behind an ear, or pull on your earlobe.
  • "Longer version of" - Pretend to stretch a piece of elastic.
  • "Shorter version of"  - Do a "karate chop" with your hand.
  • "Plural" - Link your little fingers.
    "Proper Name" - Tap the top of your head with an open palm.
  • "Past tense" - Wave your hand over your shoulder toward your back.
  • A letter of the alphabet - Move your hand in a chopping motion toward your arm (near the top of your forearm if the letter is near the beginning of the alphabet, and near the bottom of your arm if the letter is near the end of the alphabet).
  • A color - Point to your tongue, then point to an object of the color you're trying to convey. If no objects are available, then pantomime an object that typically possesses the color in question.
  • "Close, keep guessing!" - Frantically wave your hands about to keep the guesses coming, or pretend to fan yourself, as if to say "getting hotter".
  • "Not even close, I'll start over" - Wave hand in a wide sweep, as if to say "go away!" Alternatively, pretend to shiver, as if to say
  • "getting colder". - The hand is moved as if flushing a toilet, meaning forget whatever has been done till now and to start afresh.
  • "A synonym" or "A word or phrase that means the same thing" - Clasp your hands together and then, rotating your clasped hands from the wrists, simulate multiple figure 8's.
  • "The opposite" or "the antonym of what you are saying"  - Form each hand into a hitchhiker's thumb signal, then with the backs of the hands facing away from you, cross your forearms and make the thumbs travel in opposing directions, thus "opposite".
  • "Stop, work on something else"  - Hold both arms out in front of you, palms of your hands waving, facing your teammates, while simultaneously shaking your head, eyes closed
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Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved.

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