Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A representation of words in the form of pictures or symbols, often presented as a puzzle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A kind of word puzzle which uses pictures to represent words or parts of words.
  • v. To mark or indicate by a rebus.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A mode of expressing words and phrases by pictures of objects whose names resemble those words, or the syllables of which they are composed; enigmatical representation of words by figures; hence, a peculiar form of riddle made up of such representations.
  • n. A pictorial suggestion on a coat of arms of the name of the person to whom it belongs. See Canting arms, under Canting.
  • transitive v. To mark or indicate by a rebus.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A puzzle or riddle consisting of words or phrases represented by figures or pictures of objects whose names resemble in sound those words or phrases or the syllables of which they are composed; an enigmatical representation of words by means of figures or pictures suggestive of them.
  • n. In heraldry:
  • n. A bearing or succession of bearings which make up the name or a word expressing the profession or office of the bearer.
  • n. A motto in which a part of the phrase is expressed by representations of objects instead of by words.
  • To mark with a rebus; indicate by a rebus.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a puzzle where you decode a message consisting of pictures representing syllables and words

Etymologies

From Latin rēbus, ablative pl. of rēs, thing; see rē- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French rébus, from Latin rebus (ablative plural of res ‘thing’), as taken from the phrase de rebus quae geruntur ‘concerning the things that are taking place’, used in sixteenth-century Picardie as the name for satirical pieces containing picture-riddles. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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