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or amphitheatre

[am-fuh-thee-uh-ter, -theeuh-ter] /ˈæm fəˌθi ə tər, -ˌθiə tər/
an oval or round building with tiers of seats around a central open area, as those used in ancient Rome for gladiatorial contests.
any similar place for public contests, games, performances, exhibitions, etc.; an arena, stadium, or auditorium.
a room having tiers of seats arranged around a central area, in which students and other observers can view surgery, hear lectures, etc.
  1. the first section of seats in the gallery of a theater.
  2. a designated section of seats in any part of a theater.
a level area of oval or circular shape surrounded by rising ground.
Origin of amphitheater
1540-50; < Latin amphitheātrum < Greek amphithéātron. See amphi-, theater
Related forms
[am-fuh-thee-a-trik] /ˌæm fə θiˈæ trɪk/ (Show IPA),
amphitheatrical, adjective
amphitheatrically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for amphitheatre
Historical Examples
  • He had risen also; they stood side by side under the statue of Diana; some people had come into the amphitheatre below.

    Dorothy and other Italian Stories Constance Fenimore Woolson
  • But the Christians, you know, frequent not the amphitheatre.

    Aurelian William Ware
  • The amphitheatre bent above the parquette its garland of diamonds, hair, gauze, and satin.

    The Red Lily, Complete Anatole France
  • Much that belonged to Macer of the amphitheatre, and Macer the soldier, cleaves to him now.

    Aurelian William Ware
  • The larger axis of the amphitheatre was apparently about one hundred and ten yards, and the shorter eighty-five or thereabouts.

    Old Rome Robert Burn
  • It is the chief town of Somersetshire, and is surrounded by an amphitheatre of hills.

  • Kirby, on the threshold of the amphitheatre, squared his shoulders and held his head high.

  • We all sat in a row, on steps, as in an amphitheatre, but in straight lines.

    Memoirs Charles Godfrey Leland
  • To the Roman period belong the remains of an amphitheatre and numerous inscriptions.

  • The amphitheatre is still in existence, and was excavated in 1887.

    Pagan and Christian Rome Rodolfo Lanciani
British Dictionary definitions for amphitheatre


a building, usually circular or oval, in which tiers of seats rise from a central open arena, as in those of ancient Rome
a place where contests are held; arena
any level circular area of ground surrounded by higher ground
  1. the first tier of seats in the gallery of a theatre
  2. any similarly designated seating area in a theatre
a lecture room in which seats are tiered away from a central area
Derived Forms
amphitheatric (ˌæmfɪθɪˈætrɪk), amphitheatrical, adjective
amphitheatrically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for amphitheatre

chiefly British English spelling of amphitheater. See -er.



late 14c., from Latin amphitheatrum, from Greek amphitheatron "double theater, amphitheater," neuter of amphitheatros "with spectators all around," from amphi- "on both sides" (see amphi-) + theatron "theater" (see theater). Classical theaters were semi-circles, thus two together made an amphi-theater.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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